League Cup 2016: FFT'S Player of the Tournament
Almost every competition in the world will name a deserving player as the Player of the Tournament, so why should the League Cup 2016 be any different?
Selecting five candidates was a difficult task, given the number of standouts this competition had. But a decision had to be made nonetheless and here are FFT’s picks for Player of the Tournament.
Special mention: Jozef Kaplan (Hougang United)
Does this nomination comes as a surprise to many? Maybe, given how Kaplan had a really frustrating season in front of goal so far. Prior to the start of the League Cup, Kaplan had only managed a meagre three goals in 16 starts.
But the Slovakian appeared to have found form once again, as he emerged as the tournament’s top scorer with five goals in six games.
Hougang United might have ended the competition on a sad note as they lost to Geylang International 2-1 in the Plate final but their skipper’s return to form should be a sort of consolation for them.
Special mention: Yosuke Nozawa (Albirex Niigata S)
When you look at Albirex Niigata (S), you cannot understate the importance of goalkeeper Yosuke Nozawa.
Goals win you games, but a clean sheet, more often than not, guarantees that your side walks away with something. And that is what Nozawa has done for his team in the tournament.
The experienced custodian only played three games in the League Cup and not once did he concede a goal. Of the three matches, two were in the semi-final and final.
The Japanese is a tough nut to crack and his presence at the back greatly boosts the morale of those around him.
He was once again commanding in the final, keeping Brunei DPMM at bay as Albirex successfully defended their title.
Special mention: Naofumi Tanaka (Albirex Niigata S)
If there was an award for the best defensive outfield player, Naofumi Tanaka would clinch it without a doubt.
The left wing-back has been an ever-present for the White Swans since his arrival this season and he has hardly had a poor game.
With him around, Albirex can rest assured that their flanks are protected while there is support going forward.
It is perhaps telling that when Tanaka did not start for Albirex, they went down 1-0 to Geylang International in the group stages.
Tanaka was also selected as FFT’s Young Player of the Tournament award.