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 By Kenneth Tan

Khairul Nizam to add S.League strength to Warriors FC in 2018

As a dismal 2017 for Singapore football draws to a close, John Wilkinson joins Jason Dasey to reveal his hopes for 2018.

Singapore international Khairul Nizam will play for Warriors FC in the 2018 S.League season after rejecting a contract extension at Home United.

The 2018 S.League season will only kick off in late March, but the nine-time champions have been busy in the transfer market with a flurry of local signings.

Nizam is the latest to put pen to paper, as he become the second player to move from Home to their uniformed rivals in this off-season after utility man Shamil Sharif.

The forward's former LionsXII teammate Gabriel Quak is the other eye-catching capture for the Warriors while the likes of midfielder Ammirul Emmran, Delwinder Singh and Ignatius Ang have also switched over.

Nizam had enjoyed better times in the past two seasons with Home after a difficult time with his fitness. He suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and had two meniscus tears in his right knee that limited him to playing just 20 matches between 2012 and 2014.

After scoring seven goals in 2016, he recorded eight for the Protectors in 2017. That included a spectacular volley in a 5-4 away win against Vietnam's Than Quang Ninh that was voted as one of the AFC Cup's goals of that week.

However, he opted to leave the club where he shot to prominence with his scoring exploits for their under-16 and under-17 teams.

"It's difficult to leave my childhood club because I had had enjoyed my best form with Home United over the past two seasons," the 26-year-old told ESPN FC.

"We had a great season and went all the way to the AFC Cup ASEAN zonal final, so I'm thankful to the club for giving me this opportunity.

PJ Roberts reflects on Winston Lee's impact on football in Singapore, as well as the direction of the national team and S.League in 2018.

"However, it's now time for me to move on to another challenge, and I'm looking forward to having a good year with Warriors FC."

The Warriors are starting to assemble a handy squad for 2018 after finishing a disappointing fifth out of nine teams last season.

They have kept the likes of goalkeeper Hyrulnizam Juma'at, defenders Emmeric Ong, Ho Wai Loon, midfielders Poh Yi Feng, Firdaus Kasman, Suria Prakash and forward Fadhil Noh, although captain Shahril Ishak is not on the retained list.

There will likely be a change of coach. ESPN FC understands that they are close to finalising a deal for a former player to take over Razif Onn, who is likely to stay at the club in a youth development role.

Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT

 

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