Faris Ramli named AIA Player of the Year, Adrian Pennock best coach
Hougang United forward Faris Ramli was named the Singapore Premier League's AIA Player of the Year at yesterday's FAS Nite 2019, following a stellar season in which he scored 16 goals.
The 27-year-old, whose exploits helped the Cheetahs finish third in the nine-team SPL, was just five goals behind Brunei DPMM's Andrei Varankou who won the AIA Top Scorer award.
Faris, who pipped Varankou and Tampines Rovers midfielder Shahdan Sulaiman to the prestigious accolade, became the first local to win it after goalkeeper Hassan Sunny did it with the Warriors in 2014.
The national striker, who joined Hougang earlier this year after his contract with Perlis FA was terminated less than a month after signing for the Malaysian club, said he had been dreaming of the win since starting his professional career.
"Considering the circumstances, this feels surreal and I'm shocked that I won because the recent winners were all from league-winning teams," said Faris.
"But things happen for a reason and when the Perlis deal fell through, Hougang approached me with a good offer and challenge, for which I'm grateful."
SPL champions DPMM were heavily represented in the roll of honour. Their tactician Adrian Pennock was named the Singapore Pools Coach of the Year, and four players - goalkeeper Wardun Yussof, defender Charlie Clough, midfielder Blake Ricciuto and Varankou - were in the Team of the Year.
Said Pennock: "I would never have thought a year ago I would be standing here being a champion in the SPL and getting this award."
The Komoco Motors Young Player of the Year award went to Home United midfielder Hami Syahin.
The 20-year-old, who could not be at Orchard Hotel for last night's ceremony, expressed his gratitude through a video message from Japan, where he is preparing for the SEA Games with Singapore's Under-22 team.
"Playing at Home this year, I was (pushed) out of my comfort zone and that has helped me grow into a better player and human being," he said.
"I will take this win as motivation to push harder and achieve greater things in life."