Football: Hougang win big at inaugural Singapore Premier League monthly awards

SINGAPORE – For guiding Hougang United back from a poor start to the Singapore Premier League (SPL) season to record resounding victories against AFC Cup representatives Geylang International (4-1) and Lion City Sailors (3-1), Cheetahs coach Clement Teo and striker Tomoyuki Doi were recognised for their efforts in the inaugural SPL monthly awards.

The monthly winners, who will receive a trophy and a cash award, are decided by a panel comprising representatives from the Football Association of Singapore technical team, Singapore Pools and local media.

Doi had earlier stated his desire to win the Player of the Year and topscorer awards in order to be noticed by J-League teams, and the 23-year-old Japanese got off to a great start, grabbing a brace in each win en route to claiming the Player of the Month for March and $500.

The 2020 Player of the Year nominee said: “I appreciate my team-mates, coaches and supporters for being there for me, and I’m happy with this award.

“But I’m not satisfied just yet because I need to train even harder to be a better player and show even more quality in every match I play.”

Teo also paid tribute to the team as he was named Coach of the Month and the $300 prize that came with it, for the first time in his professional career.

The 54-year-old Singaporean said: “I am blessed to have a group of wonderful players and officials who worked very hard to get the results, as well as a chairman (Bill Ng) who is dedicated and supportive.”

The Young Player of the Month award and $250 went to Young Lions’ striker Khairin Nadim.

The teenager scored in the two games he played last month to help his team come from behind to secure a 3-3 draw with Balestier Khalsa and a 1-1 draw with Geylang.

Including the three goals he scored last season, he also became the youngest player to reach five SPL goals at 16 years, 10 months, 16 days.

Khairin said: “I want to thank my coaches for believing in me and giving me opportunities. Being able to play and score as a young player gives me confidence and motivation to work harder to prove myself on the pitch.

“I still have a lot to learn and hopefully, I can score more goals for my team.”

Meanwhile, there was a bumper crop of stellar goals in the first three rounds of SPL action and ultimately, Sailors midfielder Song Ui-young’s volley in the 5-0 win over Tanjong Pagar was picked as the Goal of the Month, landing the South Korean $200 as well.

The 27-year-old, who scored three goals in March, said: “As the ball was half-cleared into the air and landing, I was already visualising the volley as I have done so before in training.

“It is a good initiative to have such monthly awards like major leagues do to acknowledge good work by coaches and players. I’m thankful for this award and my team, and will do my best to keep scoring for them.”

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