Singapore international eyes Thailand Premier League exposure

Hafiz Sujad has a year left in his contract with Tampines Rovers.

Hafiz Abu Sujad
Hafiz (L) scored seven goals in all competitions for Tampines Rovers in 2016 Reuters

Singapore international Hafiz Abu Sujad will have a week-long trial with Thai Premier League (TPL) club Sisaket FC and also with second-tier Thai league club Big Bang Chula United in a bid to get top-quality football exposure at the Southeast Asian powerhouse.

The 26-year-old, who has a contract with S.League side Tampines Rovers running until the end of 2017 season, has been given the nod by the Stags management to go ahead with the Thailand trial. He also has the provision of returning to the club if he is not able to find success in his attempt to ink a deal with the clubs, according to The New Paper.

Hafiz's move comes shortly after TPL reportedly announced that there would be an Asean player slot for teams in the second tier league from 2017 and also in the top-tier from 2018, which would see players from the Asean region playing in Thailand.

The Tampines midfielder though was not able to make a solid impact in the recently-concluded AFF Suzuki Cup with the Lions as he saw a red as early as in the first match against Philippines.

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However, his performances in 2016 S.League, which earned him a nomination for the Player of the Year Award, should work in his favour during the Thai audition.

Tampines chairman Krishna Ramachandra conceded the club will miss him in the upcoming S.League season but added that a potential Thai league experience will do a lot of good to his career in the long-term.

Notably, the Stags, who will be playing the AFC Champions League qualifying stages, have already lost some of the big names including Jermaine Pennant and Jordan Webb due to financial issues.

"I do not want to lose him for the 2017 season but, in the longer term, this would be great for his career. It will raise his game to the next level and, ultimately, this will be great for Singapore football," Krishna said, as quoted by the news daily.

"As a club, we have historically always supported the 
professional advancement of our players. So although we have just signed Hafiz for another year, this is an important break for him and we all hope he gets an offer."