Singapore defender Anders Aplin joins J-League 2 leaders Matsumoto Yamaga

Kelvin Leong Kelvin Leong

Singapore and Geylang International defender Anders Aplin has signed a contract to play for J-League 2 leaders Matsumoto Yamaga for the rest of the year.

The 27-year-old arrived in Japan earlier this week and has already started training with the current league leaders who are in a good position to gain promotion to the J-League next season.

The deal was made possible by EPSON who are Geylang and Yamaga’s club sponsor, and Aplin will be the first Singaporean to play in Japan.

“Supporting youth development and local football is core to our corporate social responsibility efforts. As sponsors of Matsumoto Yamaga FC in Japan and Geylang International FC in Singapore, we are glad to have played a part in the collaboration of the two football clubs and bringing opportunities to various aspects of club management and players,” said Alvin Tan, Regional Director (Logistics & Marketing Support), EPSON Singapore.

“Congratulations to Anders for making the Yamaga team and we wish him all the best in becoming the first Singapore player to have a professional career in Japan.”

This is not the first time EPSON have initiated a Geylang-Yamaga collaboration. Geylang wingers Gabriel Quak and Shawal Anuar went on a two-week trial in February 2017 with Yamaga but did not stay on in Japan.

Yamaga have been in scintillating form this season with 16 wins, eight draws and four losses, totalling 56 points at the top of the J2 standings, ahead of Oita Trinita and Machida Zelvia.

Their next game is on Saturday at home to Zelvia but Aplin is unlikely to make his debut then. Should his International Transfer Certificate arrive on time, the Singapore international could be in line to make his club debut on August 25 against Yokohama FC.

Yokohama have one of Japanese football’s living legends amongst their ranks in 51-year-old Kazuyoshi Miura, who is affectionately known as King Kazu.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to join Matsumoto Yamaga F.C.” Aplin said. “The level of football in Japan is very high and is amongst the top in Asia.

“I’m also very happy to be the first Singaporean to come to Japan. I look forward to the challenges ahead and will do my best.”

Aplin’s move continues the trend of Southeast Asian players plying their trade in Japan with Thailand’s Chanathip Songkrasin, Teerasil Dangda and Theerathon Bunmathan all playing in the J-League this year.