Singapore international Hafiz Abu Sujad says he cannot automatically return to Tampines Rovers and it is upto Stags to decide whether the 26-year-old will fit their plans for the remainer of the season.
Hafiz, a free agent now, is on the lookout for a new club after his Thai side Big Bang Chula United (BBCU) abruptly pulled out from second tier league in April earlier this year. The utility player had signed a one-year contract after making the switch from Tampines ahead of the new season, but his stint was cut short to only three months.
A return to Thailand is also in Hafiz's mind as he says he is not going to rule out another overseas stint. However, a return to Singapore is also "not a step down", according to the him, who was the only local player to have received the S.League Player of the Year nomination last season for his exploits with the Stags.
"As for a return to Tampines, the most important thing is whether they think I fit the team. It is a different coach -- coach Jurgen [Raab] instead of coach Akbar [Nawaz] and they play a different system now. Let us see what happens, it is not just because I was previously from there means I automatically get to go into the team again," Hafiz said, as quoted by ESPN.
"It is definitely not a step down to play in Singapore again. But I am also working with my agent Abdul Halim to look out for clubs in Thailand. The transfer window there opens on June 4. If there is still the chance to play overseas, I will definitely want to.
"For me, the most important thing is playing time; I do not want to lose out on too many games."
The Singapore national team is also gearing up for an important week ahead with their AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifier against Chinese Taipei is scheduled for 10 June at the National Stadium. Having snatched a crucial 0-0 draw against Bahrain in their first match of the qualifying round, the Lions are upbeat and they will also face Myanmar next Tuesday, which will serve as tune-up for the big clash on Saturday.
Having found his name in V Sundramoorthy's provisional squad for the fixtures, Hafiz stressed on the need to have match practise in order to retain the faith of his coach. However, without a lot of match practice, he says it will be difficult but not impossible to deliver for the team.
"I am thankful that coach Sundram has kept the faith in me. I am a bit rusty to be honest [after not playing for a while], but I have been doing runs in the gym and having solo sessions to keep up my fitness," Hafiz added.
"The squad still have to be trimmed down, so I cannot take it for granted. I will respect coach's decision on whether I am in the final squad. If I am selected, I will surely give my 100 percent."