Albirex's Takahiro Koga wins SPL’s first Golden Glove award
Albirex custodian tops clean-sheets chart with eight shut-outs in 20 games
Albirex Niigata goalkeeper Takahiro Koga's eight clean sheets in 20 games this season has not only helped his side keep their title defence hopes alive, but it has also earned him the Singapore Premier League's inaugural Golden Glove award.
The 1.91m custodian has three more shut-outs than his nearest rival and, with only one game left, the 22-year-old can't be caught.
Koga will receive the inaugural accolade at the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Awards Night 2021 at the Aux Media Studio in Kallang next Tuesday.
And he could be accompanied by other Albirex representatives.
Dominating the nominees list, announced yesterday, are players and officials from the SPL's top three sides - Lion City Sailors, Albirex and Hougang United.
The season reaches a climax on Sunday with the Sailors and Albirex separated by only goal difference.
The Player of the Year award will be contested between the SPL's current top scorer Tomoyuki Doi from Hougang, Sailors defender Jorge Fellipe and their top striker Stipe Plazibat.
The Coach of the Year award will pit last year's winner, Albirex's Keiji Shigetomi, against Hougang's Clement Teo and Young Lions' Philippe Aw.
Sailors coach Kim Do-hoon is not eligible as he took charge only in July and does not meet the criterion of being in the job for at least six months.
But Sailors midfielder Saifullah Akbar will attempt to retain his Young Player of the Year crown against teammate Nur Adam Abdullah and Albirex's Ryoya Taniguchi.
The finalists and eventual winners of the Player, Coach, Young Player, Goal and SPL Team of the Year awards were selected by a panel.
The panellists are the current coaches, captains and general managers from the eight SPL clubs, as well as FAS technical director Joseph Palatsides, FAS head of elite youth Fandi Ahmad and five media representatives.
STORY OF THE YEAR
In the subsidiary categories, The New Paper's executive sub-editor Dilenjit Singh is in the running for the Story of the Year award.
His report on teacher-coach Shahul Hamid's initiative - a free football clinic for underprivileged children - has been nominated for the accolade, alongside two other contenders.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and safe management measures, this year's event will be attended by only relevant personnel such as award winners, presenters and event crew.
Fans can catch the FAS Awards Night live via the FAS' Facebook page and YouTube channel from 7.30pm next Tuesday.
FAS Awards Night nominees*
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
- Jorge Fellipe (Lion City Sailors)
- Stipe Plazibat (Lion City Sailors)
- Tomoyuki Doi (Hougang United)
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR
- Nur Adam Abdullah (Lion City Sailors)
- Saifullah Akbar (Lion City Sailors)
- Ryoya Taniguchi (Albirex Niigata)
COACH OF THE YEAR
- Clement Teo (Hougang United)
- Keiji Shigetomi (Albirex Niigata)
- Philippe Aw (Young Lions)
SPL GOLDEN GLOVE
- Takahiro Koga (Albirex)
STORY OF THE YEAR
Leaving no child behind at HotShotz football clinic
- Dilenjit Singh, The New Paper
Herding cows, picking fruit: What S'pore's female footballers do to play in Australia
- Kimberly Kwek, The Straits Times
After years in the wilderness and a winless season, Tanjong Pagar aim to build on victory
- Matthew Mohan, CNA