Buns Bros Remembered
One might have been forgiven for supposing that the clubs had forgotten about their end-of-season event, given how little there was to commemorate. Well, tradition must, and a relatively small affair would take place at the Farmer Bunnies clubhouse - where Tham Leng Teck
and Kwek Yun Jie
jointly announced their retirements from the game, and were inducted into the Bunnies Hall of Fame together with former teammate, Liderhan Kadyr.
"It's a fitting end to a wonderful career." Tham, nearing 42 years old and with 75 national caps and 360 starts for the club, insisted. "And spending all of it with my dear youth team bud - I enjoyed just about every moment of it."
", Kwek, had arguably outdone the longtime captain with five Player of the Season awards to Tham's two, moreover also having earned a healthy 63 caps with the Lions, and just four club starts fewer. "Same for me here." he smiled.
These inductions done with, the Bunnies elders would stay on to announce the rest of the prizes. From Grilled Birds, it was hard to look past Chan Ze Han
for the big one, with the 33 year-old not having any serious competition, what with his contemporaries having either declined or left. "Thanks as always." he quipped, as he claimed his fifth POTY. "But really, I do hope it will be someone else next season!"
There were a lot more choices for the youth version, with the new generation clambering up the ranks, and it would narrowly go to Lim An Keng
, with Chad Thach
and Enrique Baena
having caught the fan's imaginations otherwise. Lim's growth and solidity in midfield would put him above the rest, though, and the Number 26 took it as much-welcome encouragement for the future.
For the Buns, Ghana international Richard Agyei
would have been a worthy choice, as he continued performing for both club and country. A somewhat controversial decision saw striker Vitaliy Efendiev
get the nod instead, however, with his invincible determination swaying the panel, more than his goal return of nine - not shabby, but nothing really to shout about either.
The Buns needed every one of those, truthfully, and they must be looking for more to come. There would be another surprise for the youth version, as hot favourite Ong Li Jing
- who had already earned one as an U-17 player - was edged out by Amirul Jufri Khairil
. There was indeed not much between them, and the coaches evidently felt that some recognition was due in Amirul's direction.
It was a day for the dark horses indeed, as Chua Jun Long
would finally claim the senior gong, having taken two Young Player of the Season awards in his younger years. The 25 year-old had been somewhat kept in the shade by Hardi bin Besar
, but Hardi having already been honoured last season, perhaps factored into it.
As for that YPOTS, the Busy Bees' Viraj Mishra would win it with his proven ability to take over games from any and all positions, having done it at forward, on the wing, and now fullback. The beefy teenager is reportedly split on staying, however, and much will hinge on whether Didi Reidenbach
- or his successor - has a spot ready for him.