Japanese club Albirex Niigata wins S'pore Premier League 3 months before season ends, 19 points ahead

Foreign team dominates Singapore's football league.

Sulaiman Daud | July 22, 2018, 11:45 PM

Singapore football is officially deader than dead.

Albirex Niigata FC, a Japanese club, has made history by winning the first-ever edition of the Singapore Premier League (SPL).

This also means that Albirex, a satellite team of the Albirex Niigata football club in Japan, has won Singapore's top professional league three times in a row: In 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The SPL, introduced in 2018, is a revamp of the S-League, which began in 1996.

Insane winning streak

Albirex drew 1-1 against Balestier Khalsa on Sunday, July 22, which meant the Japanese club officially won the title three months before the end of the season.

Their 19-point lead at the top of the table ahead of their nearest rivals, Tampines Rovers, with six more games left to be played, meant there is no way Albirex can lose their lead even if they lost all of their remaining games.

Albirex won all 17 games prior to this match, which meant this draw has tainted their perfect victory record.

This feat is similar to Manchester City in the English Premier League. The Blues secured the title in April 2018 with five games remaining.

Albirex also scored the most number of goals in the league with 54 goals and conceded only 11, the fewest.

Among their players is Singaporean Adam Swandi, who currently holds the record of top number of assists jointly with his teammate Ryujiro Yamanaka, and two other non-Albirex players.

Could have done better

Despite their amazing achievement, head coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga was not entirely thrilled with the result.

According to Channel NewsAsia, he wanted the win to add to Albirex's perfect record of 17 prior straight victories.

He said:

"We set out to win every game and today we did not win, so we did not achieve what we wanted to do. We only needed a draw to be champions, but we couldn't get the win so there is some regrets."


Yoshinaga said his team lacked precision in failing to secure the win, and wants them to improve:

"This is something we have to work on... I think the boys realise now they have a lot to improve and when we go back to the training ground, I hope they will work harder so that the next match will be better."

And that is how the Japanese work ethic has won the day. Again.

Top image from Albirex Niigata FC Singapore's Facebook page