This Sunday, the Lion City Sailors will battle for the Singapore Premier League (SPL) title on the final matchday of the season (10 October). And while the players are firmly fixing their gaze on the Balestier Khalsa match at the Jalan Besar Stadium, the club will be well represented at the 2021 Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Awards Night that follows two days later.
Stipe Plazibat, with 14 goals and seven assists to his name in 17 appearances this year, is one of three nominees for the AIA Player of the Year award, his second consecutive nomination for the award.
He is joined on the nominees list by teammate Jorge Fellipe. The 32-year-old Brazilian has been a giant in defence and also equally important in the attacking third, scoring important goals – most notably against Albirex Niigata (S) and Young Lions – to keep the Sailors’ title hopes on track.
Hougang United’s Tomoyuki Doi – the league’s current top scorer with 19 goals in 20 matches – rounds up the nominees list for the award that was won by Sailors’ attacker Gabriel Quak last year.
Saifullah Akbar stood alongside Gabriel on stage in 2020, winning the AIA Young Player of the Year, and the 22-year-old midfielder is once again among the nominees for players aged 23 or under.
He will have to beat off competition from Albirex’s Ryoya Taniguchi – the White Swans’ leading goalscorer (nine) and assist-provider (eight) this year – as well as teammate Nur Adam Abdullah.
Nur Adam has been a picture of consistency in his debut season with the Sailors, making the left-back spot his own, with an eye-catching swashbuckling style.
There will be 10 award categories at the awards ceremony to be held at the Aux Media Studio. This is one more than last year, with the new Golden Glove Award – presented to the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets in the SPL – for the first time.
Albirex custodian Takahiro Koga will become the SPL’s first Golden Glove winner. He has racked up eight clean sheets, three more than the next closest goalkeeper and cannot be overtaken with one game left to play.
The Sailors were big winners last year with Gabriel and Saifullah taking the biggest individual awards and Stipe named as league’s top-scorer.