Player Type: FORWARDS
DOB/Age: 12 September 1992 (31)
Previous Clubs: Central Coast Mariners (2010-2013, 2013-2014 – loan), Blacktown City (2011 – loan), Shanghai East Asia (2013-2015), Sydney FC (2014-2015 – loan, 2016-2017 – loan), Club Brugge (2015-2017), Vancouver Whitecaps (2017-2018), Emirates Club (2018-2019), Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (2019), Newcastle Jets (2020), Western Sydney Wanderers (2020-2022)
A burly forward with superior aerial abilities, Bernie adds depth to the Sailors’ frontline while Kodai Tanaka continues his rehabilitation from a long-term injury.
The Nigeria-born Australian made his name in the A-League, breaking onto the scene as a 17-year-old in 2010 and scoring a total of 37 goals with four different clubs over the years. Bernie also played in China, the United States as well as in Korea, where he won the 2019 K League 1 title with Jeonbuk.
The former Australia international’s goal scoring ability and vast experience in the game will not only help boost the Sailors’ chances of reclaiming the league title, but also help guide the younger forwards like Abdul Rasaq Akeem and Anaqi Ismit to become better at their craft.
DOB/Age: 16 June 2001 (22)
Previous Clubs: Young Lions (2019-2022)
Rasaq adds depth to the Sailors’ burgeoning options in attack for the 2023 season, offering the team a different option with his tireless running. Having shown potential from a young age, representing Singapore at various youth levels and scoring in his first year as a full-fledged professional in 2019, Rasaq’s career was curtailed slightly due to National Service but he has since returned strongly.
The stocky forward sparkled towards the end of 2022, scoring five goals across two competitions for the Young Lions and is keen to pick up where he left off for the Sailors in 2023.
DOB/Age: 23 December 1999 (24)
Previous Clubs: Albirex Niigata (S) (2022)
The club’s acquisition of Kodai in the off-season captured the imagination of many a Sailors’ fan, and rightly so. He was hugely influential in Albirex’s 2022 Singapore Premier League title triumph, finishing as the league’s second-highest scorer with 33 goals and 10 assists in 28 appearances.
The lethal forward will look to not only replicate similar levels in a Sailors’ shirt, but also turn in more all-round performances at the Bishan Stadium in 2023. With the supporting cast of Diego Lopes and Maxime Lestienne providing ammunition, the reigning SPL Player of the Year is relishing the opportunity to spearhead the Sailors’ bid for success at the domestic and regional levels.
DOB/Age: 29 April 1991 (32)
Previous Clubs: Geylang International (2014-2019), Hougang United (2020-2022)
A rare talent who was nurtured in and plucked from Singapore’s amateur leagues, Shawal’s stock has risen in recent years – and sharply so.
Shawal is undoubtedly one of Singapore’s top forwards at the moment. In 2022 he combined flair with trickery and a keen eye for goal, scoring a career-high 11 Singapore Premier League goals to inspire Hougang United to their first-ever trophy last season – the Singapore Cup.
The challenge to return the Sailors to the top of Singapore football heap and the Group Stage of the Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL) for the second time was one that Shawal could not turn down.
DOB/Age: 6 April 2005 (18)
Previous Clubs: AKS Shanghai, ANZA Singapore
The baby of the Sailors Women’s squad, Miray only turns 18 this year, but has already shown the potential to become a top talent in the local football scene.
The Japanese teenager was part of the Sailors’ team that won the inaugural FAS Women’s Panna Challenge in 2020 and finished second top-scorer with seven Pannas.
The hardworking forward grew from strength to strength as the 2022 WPL season wore on and was the star performer in the post-season SingaCup’s Women Football Championship where she scored three goals against top regional sides like Persib Bandung and Phranakorn FC.
A skilfull forward who is also adept on the wings, Miray actually only began playing football because her mum signed her up for summer camp when she was in first grade, fearing that Miray would become a couch potato.
DOB/Age: 4 June 2003 (20)
Previous Clubs: Aksil (Shanghai)
Born to a French mother and Singaporean Chinese father, Lila turns heads with her body feints and nifty dribbling skills on the field as much as she does off the pitch, with her exotic appearance.
Lila was influenced by her younger brothers to pick up the sport at 11 and did play for a brief period in Shanghai while residing there before returning home.
For Lila, succeeding in football is part of her effort to break stereotypes and prove that women can make as big an impact as men in the Beautiful Game. Despite her fashion industry aspirations, the 2021 Miss Universe Singapore second runner-up does not shy away from challenges that could cut or bruise.
Lila played an integral role in the Sailors’ memorable unbeaten WPL title-winning campaign in 2022, most notably scoring the equaliser to spark a come-from-behind win in the final game of the season against Tanjong Pagar United after the team was down by 1-0 for large periods of the game.
DOB/Age: 24 May 1999 (24)
Previous Clubs: Still Aerion FC
2022 was a memorable year on all fronts for Izzati, who scored a last-minute winner to help the Singapore national women’s team to pick up their first SEA Games victory in 37 years before scoring a league-high 10 goals to lead the Sailors’ Women to the title in their debut WPL season.
Going beyond that, her football journey has many more layers.
She was the only girl in her father’s club in the JSSL National Youth League when she started at eight years old, already called up to the national Under-19 squad when she entered lower secondary and scored an astonishing 23 goals to help Queensway Secondary win their first B Division Girls’ football title.
Izzati then had to overcome various obstacles, suffering two serious injuries – a partial anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear and a full ACL and meniscus tear – in the space of two years, as well struggling for motivation after her mum’s passing back in 2021.
Inspired by her idol Alex Morgan, Izzati is still standing tall and the attacker is looking to achieve even more success on the football field.
DOB/Age: 17 June 1992 (31)
Previous Clubs: Mouscron (2008-2009), Brugge (2010-2014), Genoa (2014-2015 – loan), PSV (2015-2016 – loan), Rubin Kazan (2016-2018), Málaga (2018 – loan), Standard Liège (2018-2022)
A direct winger blessed with a turn of pace, an eye for a pass, and composure in tight situations, Maxime showed his class in his debut season with the Sailors in 2022 as he ended the campaign as the SPL’s top assist-maker with 23, on top of several scintillating and game-changing performances.
Capped at all Belgian youth levels, as part of the country’s Golden Generation alongside the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku, Maxime has proven pedigree at the highest level of the game.
Being a part of PSV Eindhoven’s 2015/16 UCL squad that qualified for the Round of 16 at the expense of Manchester United and made several appearances in European top-tier competitions for various clubs, he is clearly a player who raises the bar of those who plays alongside him.
DOB/Age: 24 August 2001 (22)
Previous Clubs: Home United (2019), Tanjong Pagar United (2021 – loan)
A versatile attacker who can play anywhere across the front line, Anaqi is a hot prospect who possesses predatory instincts and has a keen eye for goal. Making his professional debut in 2019 with Home United – the former iteration of the Sailors – Anaqi’s breakthrough season came in 2021 when he scored four goals in 12 appearances in a productive loan spell at Tanjong Pagar.
Now on the comeback trail from a serious injury, Anaqi is hungry to push himself into the first-team reckoning and be a dependable attacking option for the Sailors.