Monday, November 28, 2011

S-League Awards 2011

So Tampines Rovers had sewn up the S-League title before the last games of S-League kick off. Home United were crowned Champions of the Singapore Cup and Albirex Niigata (S) FC restored foreign contingent pride with a win in the League Cup (continuing the trend of foreign clubs winning the League Cup before going for greater things).

The S-League season saw many surprises being sprung up:
(a) the emergence of Hougang United as a team to be reckoned with;
(b) Albirex Niigata (S) FC makes their best ever finish to a S-League season;
...and the list goes on.

However, a look at the nominees of the S-League Awards 2011 did not seemed to acknowledge contribution of the "Shock" factor by the selection committee. After depriving off Mr Patrick Vallee the "Coach of the Year" award despite leading the Stars to 2 trophies in his debut season, the committee went one better.

Let's look at the nominees:

Great Eastern Player of the Year:
1) Aleksandar Duric - Tampines Rovers
2) Mislav Karoglan - Singapore Armed Forces FC
3) Frederic Mendy - Home United

Ultras' Choice: Frederic Mendy for his long-awaited award.

Frederic Mendy was the key man in Etoile FC last season but apart from the Golden Boot Award (which the Selection Committee had no say), the lanky Frenchman was not accorded with awards like Player of the Year or Young Player of the Year. The fact that no local footballers made it as candidates shows the contribution of foreigners in the S-League (that is unless you take Aleksandar Duric as a local born and bred).

YEO's Young player of the Year:
1) Safuwan Baharudin - Courts Young Lions
2) Hariss Harun - Courts Young Lions
3) Tatsuro Inui - Albirex Niigata (S)

Our Choice: Tatsuro Inui

Just like how Raddy Avramovic selected Ridhuan Bahrudin and Jasper Chan into the National Team setup, the Selection Committee, once again, was compelled to place Hariss Harun as a candidate for the Young Player of the Year. National Duties and S-League performance should not be construed as ONE. Do we not have other brighter talents deserving nominations apart from Courts Young Lions?

Mikasa Coach of the Year:
1) Koichi Sugiyama - Albirex Niigata(S)
2) Steven Tan - Tampines Rovers
3) Lee Lim Saeng - Home United

Ultras' Choice: Steven Tan (at best)

With all nominees garnering at least 1 trophy apiece, this award would not be like last season, where the recipient did not win any awards but went on to claim the accolades. However, that said, if the award is 'not only the trophies that are won but how the club perform on the field', then Aide Iskandar should be nominated for the immense work he has done for the club - wooden specialist to mid table team. The biasness of the Selection Committee?

Great Eastern Referee of the Year:
1) Abdul Malik
2) Abas Daud
3) Leow Thiam Hoe
4) Muhd Taqi
5) Sukhbir Singh

Ultras' Choice: We did not think that he will get it. But when you see Sukhbir Singh's name in the nomination list, you know that he may get a chance to get it. We would be lucky if someone else's get it.

While each category had 3 nominees, this category have 5 nominees. Perhaps, this is an indication of how Singapore is a "hub" for top-notch referees, or the lack of it. Abdul Malik, like Hariss Harun would be seen as an enforced choice considering that he is the representative of Singapore in Continental tournaments. What puzzles the write most is the inclusion of Muhd Taqi in the category. Unable to hold games well, and more often than not, relies on his cards to control the game, Kalimuthu would had been a nominee if the criteria is pegged to Muhd Taqi.

WAGA Assistant referee of the year:
1) Edwin Lee
2) Eugene Chan
3) Jeffery Goh
4) K Surindranath
5) Tang Yew Mun

Ultras' Choice: Is there any other choices?

This award should see our World Cup Assistant Referee winning the award. The other 3, perhaps, makes up the number.

Polar Fan Club of the Year:
1) Albirex Niigata (S)
2) Courts Young Lions
3) Singapore Armed Forces FC
4) Gombak United

Ultras' Choice: Albirex Niigata (S) without a doubt.

This must be the most shocking nomination list to come out. No Hougang Hools (who the Hougang United players claim to be a pillar to their success on the field this year), no Home United fan club (for the many NSFs they bring to the stadium game in game out) and not Tampines Rovers. Wait, Tampines Rovers and Home United are being represented by Gombak United (since the 3 clubs share almost identical personnel for fan club).
Courts Young Lions' nominations must be a joke. The fans are made up of the parents of the players and organised by a professional events company. If they do not get the award, then something is wrong, very wrong.

How credible is the S-League Awards?
If a Coach who wins the S-League title and League Cup title at the 1st attempt with his team who are playing for the 1st time in a foreign land, and he does not get the award, then you question the criteria of selection. Paul Lee of Home United was suspended for his recent fracas in the Singapore Cup encounter.

Let us see what 'surprises' will spring up in this Awards Night 2011.

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