Home United's South Korean maestro Lee Kwan Woo is a shoo-in for the S-League Player of the Year award, says Ali Kasim as he rates the five possible contenders.
Name: Lee Kwan Woo
Appearance (League & Cup): 32
1 - Lee Kwan Woo
There were question marks over whether 35-year-old Lee Kwan Woo would last the entire S-League season.
After all, the last time Home United signed a former South Korea international above the age of 34 - Kim Dae Eui in 2011 - he ended up retiring and joining the backroom staff midway through the season.
But Lee, a member of the K-League's 30-30 Club - comprising players who have amassed 30 goals and assists playing in South Korea's top flight - has taken to the S-League like fish to water.
The former Suwon Bluewings star has lit up the Bishan Stadium all year long with his classy displays in central midfield.
His assists have not been accounted for, but Home's forwards would attest to the playmaker's incisive passing and astute reading of the game.
Lee, who has 13 caps for South Korea, has also chipped in with the goals. He is the club's top scorer with 12 goals - just one shy of four others vying for the Golden Boot award.
Even when he was rested, like during the last two matches, he made all the difference after coming off the bench.
Lee scored a Goal of the Year contender with a 35-metre free-kick as a substitute against Tampines a week ago.
Last Friday, he came on in the second half against Balestier and emerged as the match-winner again. The plaudits have poured in from all over; from his coach Lee Lim Saeng, his teammates, to even opposing coaches.
Earlier in the year, DPMM's Vjeran Simunic described Lee as "one of the best players ever to come to the S-League".
Balestier's uncompromising defender Paul Cunningham, who faced Lee in his previous game, perhaps summed it up best.
He said: "Lee's a class player, and it's great to play against him and have him in this league."
Indeed, even if Home fail to lift the RHB Singapore Cup on Nov 8, or clinch second place in the league, Lee might have already done enough to earn top individual honours.