Singapore's Faris Ramli impressing in week-long Melaka United trial
Singapore winger Faris Ramli has his sights set on following many of his compatriots overseas after joining international teammate Hafiz Sujad on a week-long trial at Malaysia Super League club Melaka United.
Faris made an instant impression with the MSL side by scoring two goals in a friendly win over second-tier UKM FC on Thursday. The 25-year-old arrived at Hang Tuah on Wednesday and netted twice as a second-half substitute in the 6-0 victory the following night.
Hafiz also made his mark by scoring the opening goal on 13 minutes.
Faris, who has won 38 caps for Singapore, is keen to turn the trial into a permanent move.
"It's an honour to be able to go on trial with Melaka United," Faris told ESPN FC. "They are a big club with rich history and heritage. It's really a pleasure to be here and let's see what pans out for me here."
There has been an exodus of Singaporeans making the move to other Southeast Asian leagues in this offseason, with the current number standing at six.
Madhu Mohana (Negeri Sembilan), Hariss Harun (Johor Darul Ta'zim) and Safuwan Baharudin (Pahang FA) have already made the move to the MSL, while the nation's top two goalkeepers Hassan Sunny (Army United) and Izwan Mahbud (Nongbua Pitchaya) will play in Thai League 2 (T2).
Zulfahmi Arifin has also left Hougang United and joins Thai League (T1) side Chonburi for 2018.
There is every possibility that Faris could increase the figure to seven after his goal-scoring performance in his first appearance as a trialist.
Faris enjoyed a standout campaign with Home United last season, with 21 goals and 21 assists in all competitions earning him an S.League Player of the Year nomination.
His impressive displays have not gone unnoticed in the region with MSL giants Selangor FA and Thai League powerhouse Muang Thong United said to be amongst those interested, but ESPN FC understands that both clubs have decided against pursuing a deal.
Melaka finished eighth in the MSL last season after back-to-back promotions from the 2015 Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) League and the 2016 Malaysia Premier League.
Coach Eduardo Almeida is currently looking at several trialists, after retaining just one of their four foreigners in South Korean midfielder Jeon Woo-Young. The trio of Jasmin Mecinovic, Felipe Almeida and Marko Simic were all released.
The Hang Tuah has already signed a number of local players, most notably securing the duo of S. Chanthuru and R. Gopinathan from champions JDT.
Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT