Singapore stars Hafiz Sujad, Shahfiq Ghani eye Malaysia moves
The number of Singaporeans plying their trade overseas could increase, with four on trial with Thailand or Malaysian clubs.
Wide man Hafiz Sujad is trying out at Malaysia Super League (MSL) outfit Melaka United and featured in the side's 0-0 friendly draw with the Malaysia Under-23 side on Thursday.
Hafiz played in Thai League 2 (T2) in the first quarter of 2016, but would return to Singapore to re-join Tampines Rovers, due to his club Big Bang Chula United (BBCU) abruptly pulling out mid-season.
Meanwhile, the attacking duo of Shahfiq Ghani and Sahil Suhaimi among the trialists at newly promoted Malaysia Premier League (MPL) UKM FC.
Shahfiq scored five goals for Geylang International in the 2017 S.League season, while Sahil last played for Sarawak. His one goal in 10 league appearances was not enough to save the Crocs from relegation to the MPL.
In addition, Hougang United midfielder Zulfahmi Arifin is on trial with Thai League 1 (T1) side Chonburi FC.
ESPN FC understands that the club are keen on doing a deal, but the ultimate decision lies with the new incoming head coach who is likely to be Takashi Sekizuka from Japan.
However, Home United centre-back Abdil Qaiyyim did not do enough to earn a contract after a week-long trial with T2 side Khonkaen FC and will report for the Protectors' preseason training on Monday.
The number of Singaporeans abroad stands at five, with the latest being goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud, who took a 25 percent pay cut to sign up with T2 outfit Nongbua Pitchaya.
He joins national team rival Hassan Sunny, who re-joined Army United in the same division.
The other three will be playing across the Causeway in the MSL next year.
National vice-captain Hariss Harun has returned to champions Johor Darul Ta'zim after a loan spell with Home, utility man Safuwan Baharudin has joined Pahang from PDRM, while Madhu Mohana signed for newly promoted Negeri Sembilan.
Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT