Anu first local since Hariss to win S.League YPOTY award

Hougang midfielder M Anumanthan is following in the footsteps of Singapore midfield general Hariss Harun after winning the 2016 Young Player of the Year award… 

M.Anumanthan became the first local player since Hariss Harun in 2010 to pick up the S.League Young Player of the Year gong in Tuesday night's annual ceremony in Singapore.

I would like to thank my teammates, everyone at Hougang, everyone who voted for me ... it’s a dream come true

Johor Darul Ta’zim midfielder Hariss was the last local recipient of the award, when he was playing with the Young Lions in the S.League.

Anu always believed he had a fighting chance after he learned of his nomination and said winning the award was a big confidence booster.

“(I thought) it was 50-50, many players were hyping me up for this award but for me I am grateful to God for this first award,” Anu told reporters at the sidelines of Tuesday’s awards night.

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Anu's performances for the Cheetahs has helped him earn recognition

“I would like to thank my teammates, everyone at Hougang, everyone who voted for me, the national selectors, everybody, really a big thank you. It’s a dream come true for me and a first step for me.”

When asked whether he was under pressure to follow in Hariss’ footsteps or be compared with him in the future, the 22-year-old laughed off such suggestions.

“No pressure, because I trained with him, he’s from the same secondary school; practically I watched him train every day so he's a motivation for me,” Anu said.

“Of course many players in the national team are motivation for me so I just feel I have to work hard and believe in God, that I can do it."

There is little time for the Hougang man to celebrate though, as he prepares to fly to training camp with the national team in preparation for the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Singapore interim coach V. Sundramoorthy has warned his players that he will drop anyone not performing up to standards and Anu wants to cement his spot in Sundram’s plans after earning a recall to the squad.

“Big tournament coming up so my focus is on Suzuki Cup now, hopefully we can do it,” he added.

“I have complete confidence in my teammates, I think we are preparing well and gearing up for the Suzuki Cup.”

Photos: Weixiang Lim/FFT