The Lion City Sailors are well represented among those gunning for the honour of being named Singapore football’s best performers of 2023, with eight nominations on the Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) list of nominees for the FAS Awards Night 2023.
Maxime Lestienne followed up an outstanding 2022 season with yet another sensational year in Singapore football. His 25 goals and 21 assists saw him top the Singapore Premier League’s goal-scoring and assist charts this season, with the beguiling Belgian also instrumental in the Sailors’ Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL) campaign that has already seen the team beat two-time ACL winners, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
For the second time in successive years, the magical Maxime was named as one of three players nominated for the AIA Player of the Year (POTY) award. The 31-year-old – who has forced his name into local pundits’ arguments for best foreign player to grace Singapore football – will be up against Balestier Khalsa’s Ryoya Taniguchi and Seia Kunori from Albirex Niigata (S).
Kunori has also been nominated for the AIA Young Player of the Year (YPOTY) gong, alongside Sailors’ own 22-year-old forward Abdul Rasaq and Brunei DPMM’s Hakeme Yazid.
Rasaq is the top local goalscorer in the SPL, his 10-goal haul including a sensational volley that sealed the Sailors 3-2 win over Albirex in May.
The Sailors women – back to back champions of the Deloitte Women’s Premier League (WPL) – have representatives in all the top three awards in women’s football.
Izzati Rosni is nominated for the Deloitte Player of the Year award for the second successive year. While she did not win the 2022 award that went to Tanjong Pagar’s Manami Fukuzawa, Izzati was the top scorer and won the Goal of the Year gong last year.
Syazwani Ruzi has been nominated for the Young Player of the Year award, following a season that saw the 21-year-old defender stand up to be counted in a season that saw the Sailors women lose several players to long-term injuries as well as overseas work and education opportunities.
Head Coach Yeong Sheau Shyan, the 2022 WPL Coach of the Year, is up for the award again this year. She is up against Hougang United’s Sivaraj Geevananthan and Tanjong Pagar United coach, Samawira Basri.
The Sailors’ media team is, for the first time, among the contenders on the FAS Awards Night.
A story from the Sailors’ International Women’s Day special, the Yes, I play like a girl series titled: Yes, we work like women – and it’s been wildly effective is one of two features stories – along with a story delving into Izwan Mahbud return from an anterior cruciate ligament injury titled: I feel like a kid again: Izwan Mahbud back and ready to rediscover old groove – up for the Story of the Year award.
An Ashok Kumar photo of Maxime in full flight at the Bishan Stadium with the caption: Beguiling mix of Belgian muscle and magic is up for the Photo of the Year award.
The FAS Awards Night will be held on 23 November at the Orchard Hotel, with the theme: Unity.
Sailors’ nominees for FAS Awards Night 2023
AIA Player of the Year: Maxime Lestienne
AIA Young Player of the Year: Abdul Rasaq
SPL Top Scorer: Maxime Lestienne (Winner)
Deloitte WPL Player of the Year: Izzati Rosni
WPL Young Player of the Year: Syazwani Ruzi
WPL Coach of the Year: Yeong Sheau Shyan
Story of the Year: Yes, we work like women – and it’s been wildly effective and I feel like a kid again: Izwan Mahbud back and ready to rediscover old groove both by Kenneth Tan
Photo of the Year: Beguiling mix of Belgian muscle and magic by Ashok Kumar