ALEKSANDAR Duric has once again been crowned the S-League's Top Scorer of the Year.
And the 39-year-old star striker with the Singapore Armed Forces will be receiving the Top Scorer accolade for the third consecutive year at tonight's S-League Awards.
With 28 S-League goals, Duric still stands as the top marksman in the league's 13-year history with 284 strikes to his name, ahead of Mirko Grabovac (244), Egmar Goncalves (238), Indra Sahdan Daud (187) and Noh Alam Shah (154). However, Duric, who has also won the Player of the Year award twice in a row, is not on this year's shortlist.
When asked how he felt about not been shortlisted in what is considered the most prestigious personal accolade in local football, Duric replied: 'I think I should be nominated, even though I don't need to win again. I have already won twice. I am not angry, but this is something that I don't understand. It surprises me.'
The contenders for this year's award are Gombak United's top scorer Gabriel Obatola, Home United's Valery Hiek, Albirex Niigata's Kenji Adachihara and Super Reds' Choi Dong Soo, and Yu Hyun Koo.
But, Duric, is still happy with the Top Scorer Award and credits his team for his achievements.
Said Duric: 'Every year, I target to score 20 goals. Anything above that, is a bonus.
'Of course there is no way I can score without my team. I score because of them. And I am looking forward to hitting a total of 300 goals next season.
'I think I did a good job this year and I will retire soon, but definitely one more season. I am still hungry for success.'
At his age and still scoring, Duric is undoubtedly one of the fittest players in the Singapore football scene today.
At Wednesday's international friendly match with Indonesia, Duric scored two of Singapore's goals in their 3-1 victory.
After the match, Indonesia coach Benny Dollo told reporters that he had warned his players to look out for the 'tall, white guy'.
Duric said: 'It's good that people think I am dangerous and they are scared of me.'
There is no doubt that Duric who became a Singapore citizen in 2007, is still a first-choice striker for Singapore. Just how does he maintain his fitness?
Replied Duric: 'My fitness level today is a result of all the hard work I put in when I was young. I don't drink alcohol or smoke. I drink only juices and water. I also watch my diet closely. I read a lot of health magazines and pick up tips on the good food to eat. I eat small meals and lots of vegetables.'
'So far, I have not had any major injuries. I work hard and make sure I have enough rest. That's why I don't have any serious injuries,' added Duric.
Duric, who was born in Bosnia, moved to Singapore a decade ago. He played for SAFFC for five years and in 2007, he joined the national squad.
Despite his contributions to SAFFC, Duric will not be playing for the club in the new season.
He declined to reveal which club he will be playing for, and would only say that he would be playing for at least one more season before he hangs up his boots.
Said Duric: 'I'm surprised that my contract was not renewed. But such is part and parcel of life as a footballer.
'You should never think that you'll be finished with one club. Life goes on.'
GREAT EASTERN PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Kenji Adachihara (Albirex Niigata FC)
Gabriel Obatola (Gombak United FC)
Valery Hiek (Home United FC)
Choi Dong Soo (Super Reds FC)
Yu Hyun Koo (Super Reds FC)
YEO'S YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Gabriel Obatola (Gombak United FC)
Diallo Mamadou (Sengkang Punggol FC)
Seo Su Jong (Super Reds FC)
Hariss Harun (Young Lions)
Obadin Aikhena (Young Lions)
MIKASA COACH OF THE YEAR
Mike Wong (Geylang United FC)
Darren Stewart (Gombak United FC)
P N Sivaji (Home United FC)
Richard Bok (Singapore Armed Forces FC)
Vorawan Chitavanich (Tampines Rovers FC)
GREAT EASTERN REFEREE OF THE YEAR
Leow Thiam Hoe