FFT’s 2016 S.League Team of the Year
Singapore technical director Michel Sablon once said that 4-3-3 was the future of Singapore’s football so we decided to adopt the formation in our S.League of the Year.
So who made it to our Team of the Year? Based on previous Team of the Months (TOTM) and discussion by the FourFourTwo team, here is our list.
Goalkeeper: Syazwan Buhari (Geylang International)
Many would have picked Albirex Niigata (S) Yosuke Nozawa as their best goalkeeper in the league, especially since he only conceded 17 goals in 21 games and made FourFourTwo’s TOTM twice this year.
But huge credit must go to the veteran’s defence, as Nozawa was rarely tested and was a bystander on several occasions.
By contrast, Syazwan made our TOTM four times (including October’s when Nozawa sat out a few games) this season, putting in outstanding shifts at the back although he only kept five clean sheets in all 24 games.
Thanks to him, Geylang have the third best defence in the league with 29 goals conceded in total. It is no surprise really that Syazwan even made the national team recently and is rumoured to have displaced Singapore’s number three Zaiful Nizam in the pecking order.
Left-back: Naofumi Tanaka (Albirex Niigata S)
This Japanese should be in high demand next season, after a brilliant year in which he helped the White Swans sweep all the major trophies available in Singapore.
This is his first-ever season playing football professionally but Tanaka has acquitted himself with superb performances down the flanks, providing the overlap and tracking back whenever his side lost the ball.
For his attacking enterprise, Tanaka managed to rack up two goals and four assists in the league this year.
Right-back: Faritz Hameed (Geylang International)
After sitting on the sidelines for several years, Faritz has returned stronger than ever from injury to put in credible performances down the right, be it in defence or attack.
After staying largely injury free, Faritz even forced his way back into the national team and should be in Singapore interim coach V.Sundramoorthy’s Suzuki Cup plans.
Centre-Back: Daniel Bennett (Geylang International)
Old is gold and Bennett is living proof of it, as he rolled back the years to put in possibly one of his best seasons ever.
He may have lost his pace but Bennett makes up for it with his reading for the game. He does not let up in his tackles and is one of a few to have earned a recall to the national team after four years in the wilderness.
Albirex’s Atsushi Shirota also deserves a shout here but in terms of his experience, Bennett earns the edge this season.
Centre-Back: Abdil Qaiyyim (Home United)
Last year, Abdil was a standout for Home but he was still ignored by the national selectors.
Credit to the defender, who did not let his head drop and instead worked harder this season.
He was rewarded with a call-up to the Singapore squad in May and made his international debut against Cambodia in July.
He was injured midway through the season and his absence was telling as Home struggled to contain opponents and suffered a poor run of form that resulted in former Home coach Philippe Aw’s re-assignment to the youth department.