Jermaine Pennant signing at Tampines attracted Mehmet to S.League
He wasn't expecting to end up in S.League, but Tampines Rovers' new goal machine Billy Mehmet says that he's now relishing the opportunity to play alongside ex-Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant.
The former Ireland U21 striker was man-of-the-match as Tampines came from behind to rescue a 3-3 draw with Geylang International in Monday night's season opener.
Mehmet scored a goal and provided a crucial assist for the equaliser as he started up front in his S.League debut.
He was planning to stay in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) with Sarawak FA before making an unexpected move to join V. Sundramoorthy's star-studded Tampines
"I finished the season with Sarawak and I got promised a contract there but it didn't quite work out," he told ESPN FC.
"I had a few options but [coach] Sundram got in touch with me and spoke positively about the club. Obviously I knew that with the likes of Jermaine Pennant coming here there was only going to be one choice for me. "
Mehmat won the Golden Boot award for Kedah in the 2014 Premier League season with 23 goals in 26 matches. In 2015, he scored 15 times in 25 games for Sarawak in the MSL.
London-born with a Turkish-Cypriot father, he made his name in Scotland with Dunfermline and St. Mirren before a stint with Turkish club Genclerbirligi. He's also played in Thailand, India and Australia, where he was part of Perth Glory's 2012-13 A-League campaign.
The 31-year-old says that the prospect of having Pennant as a teammate helped sway him to join Tampines.
"To have him in the team is a massive boost for everyone," he said. "He's a down to earth guy. We all stay at the same complex and we travel with him every day so it's good to have him around us and we learn from people like this guy."
Mehmet added that Monday night's late escape in the S.League opener would give Tampines confidence in Friday night's blockbuster clash with 2014 champions Warriors FC at Jalan Besar Stadium.
"A lot of people are saying that we are the favourites for the league with the team we've got," he said.
"Considering we went down to nine men came back and get the equaliser against Geylang, we'll go into the Warriors' game in positive fashion now."