• LinkedIn
  • WhatsApp
  • Google+

Albirex Niigata, The Invincibles

Albirex Niigata won the Singapore Cup over the week-end and by doing so, finished an incredible season for the club : they won all domestic competitions for the third year in a row but this season they added a big cherry on the cake. They were unbeaten for the entire season with 21 wins and three draws in 24 games. Impressive !

Albirex Niigata Singapore was crowned champion for the third time in a row

It is one thing to dominate a league, it is another thing to beat records. Albirex Niigata, in Singapore, does both. For the third year in a row, the White Swans have won all the domestic trophies (S-League, Singapore Cup and Community Shield) available. But this season, they added a big cherry on the cake.

Relive the Singapore Cup
Relive the Singapore Premier League

The team coached by Yoshinaga Kazuaki ended the campaign with 66 points, 23 points ahead of the runners-up, Home United, which is a new record. Moreover, they scored 69 goals (best attack), conceded 17 (best defense), with 21 wins, three draws and no loss. They are the first ever team in Singapore Premier League to win the title whilst being unbeaten.

For a long part of the season, they were even hoping to win all their games, with a streak of 18 wins (also a new record), before conceding their first draw against Balestier Khalsa (1-1) towards the end of July. Come the end of September and still undefeated, the coach Yoshinaga Kazuaki did not want to focus on any records, knowing there was still a lot to achieve: "We have not looked back on what we achieved this season, because there’s still one more game and the Singapore Cup to go – we will only look back after the season has concluded".

Well then, now it is the time to look at the achievements. And they are pretty impressive. On top of the League, they also won the Community Shield, and the Singapore Cup this weekend (4-1 against DPMM, the largest score in a Cup final since 2013...), meaning they have won all the domestic trophies on offer for the past three seasons... Guess what, this is also a record!

The team, founded in 2004, is a satellite of a Japanese club and plays with almost exclusively Japanese players - two players in the roster are from Singapore this season, the goalkeeper Shahul Rayyan and the midfielder Adam Swandi.

Despite this impressive list of achievements, coach Yoshinaga Kazuaki does not wish to brag. On the contrary. "We just treated each game as it came along, we also have three draws so this unbeaten season is nothing to boast about. When we set out to play, we want to win every match, if we don’t win we have to reflect because a professional player should set out to win every match", he says.

A message which seems to have also spread within the players. Adam Swandi, after winning the Cup final, had the victory very humble: "I feel very happy of course but there is a still long way for me. I still have many aspects to work on with regards to my game. This season has been positive and I will keep on going."

Same for the captain, Wataru Murofushi after beating DPMM FC in the Cup final: "I am very happy we are champions, and unbeaten for the whole season which is a first in the Singapore League but yes, we can improve again next season".

20180709 WFC 0098

For one of them though, this game - the Cup final, the last match of the season - had to be emotional. After four seasons and 13 titles, goalkeeper Yōsuke Nozawa, decided to leave the club. "I have won many trophies with the team and lived each day to the fullest. I've also seen the increase in numbers of local supporters for the team", he explained.

Nevertheless, the success of this season was incredible for Albirex, one which surely was not achieved by many teams in the world.

Relive the Singapore Cup
Relive the Singapore Premier League