Singapore Premier League • May 9, 2024

2024/25 SPL Club Guide: Albirex Niigata (S)

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Ahead of the 2024-2025 Singapore Premier League (SPL) season, we look at each of the nine clubs participating in the 29th season of the domestic top flight. We start with defending champions Albirex Niigata (S)!

 

Seasons: 21

Nickname: The White Swans

Stadium: Jurong East Stadium

Highest finish: 1st (2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2022, 2023)

2023 finish: 1st

Chairman: Daisuke Korenaga

Head coach: Kazuaki Yoshinaga

Captain: Ho Wai Loon

Foreigners: Koki Kawachi (Japan), Shuhei Hoshino (Japan) Stevia Egbus Mikuni (Japan), Yohei Otake (Japan), Yojiro Takahagi (Japan), Arya Igami Tarhani (Japan)

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The defending SPL champions Albirex will have their sights firmly set on a third consecutive league title heading into the 2024-2025 season.

 

The White Swans were dominant last time out, securing the title with two games to spare and recording seven victories in a row to end their league campaign — with Kazuaki Yoshinaga and Seia Kunori also taking home Coach of the Year and Young Player of the Year honour, respectively, at the end-of-season Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Awards Night.

 

Their pursuit of the three-peat, however, will not be straightforward due to several changes at the club. Albirex will transition to a local outfit in the upcoming season. In essence, this change will see the club compete with a squad comprising mostly Singaporean players, while the club may also be eligible to represent Singapore in Asian Football Confederation (AFC) tournaments. They will also feel the void left by the retirement of veteran forward Tadanari Lee, along with the departures of key players Kunori to BG Tampines Rovers and Riku Fukashiro to Balestier Khalsa.

 

In response, Albirex have added ex-Japan international Yojiro Takahagi and former Japan youth international Stevia Egbus Mikuni to their ranks. The Jurong-based side will also be bolstered by the return of attackers Daniel Goh and Shuhei Hoshino, who netted a league-high 19 goals in 23 appearances during his previous stint at the club in 2018.

 

Amidst a slew of changes at the club, Kazuaki Yoshinaga will be back in the dugout this season to provide some form of continuity. The Japanese signed a new contract with the six-time SPL winners at the end of 2023 — ending speculation that he would become head coach of the Singapore national team. The four-time SPL Coach of the Year will look to deliver another SPL title and guide the White Swans to a spot in the AFC Champions League 2 for the first time in club history.

 

Squad (as at time of publication)

Goalkeepers: Hassan Sunny, Zainol Gulam, Dylan Pereira

Defenders: Koki Kawachi, Syafi’ie Redzuan, Stevia Egbus Mikuni, Junki Kenn Yoshimura, Kenji Austin

Midfielders: Arya Igami Tarhani, Yojiro Takahagi, Yohei Otake, Syed Firdaus Hassan, Arshad Shamim, Ho Wai Loon, Jarrel Ong Jia Wei, Gareth Low, Haziq Kamarudin, Hilman Norhisam

Forwards: Amy Recha, Shuhei Hoshino, Daniel Goh, Idraki Adnan, Syukri Bashir

 

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