A fitting goodbai

A fitting goodbai

He was an integral part of the LionsXII defence that conceded only 15 goals in 22 Malaysian Super League (MSL) games en route to a league glory this season.

Saturday, former LionsXII centre back Baihakki Khaizan was recognised for his sterling performances when he was awarded the Best Defender Award at the annual Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) Awards at the Grand Bluewave Hotel Shah Alam.

V Sundramoorthy, Shahril Ishak and Izwan Mahbud were also nominated for the best coach, striker and goalkeeper awards respectively.

In a telephone interview from his hotel room, Baihakki (above, left, with his wife Norfasarie Yahya) said: "These 12 months have been good for Singapore football. We rose to the occasion at the Suzuki Cup last December and carried on the momentum into the MSL this season.

"We did well as a defensive unit and anyone of us could have won, really."

This is Baihakki's third personal accolade in his professional career, after winning the S-League's Young Player of the Year award with Geylang United in 2003.

He was also named in the best 11 in the ASEAN Football Federation Awards last April.

Baihakki said: "I always try to turn negativity into positivity; I believe that I can do something better everyday."

After two seasons with LionsXII, the 29-year-old will take on a new challenge tomorrow when he starts a four-year stint at MSL side Johor Darul Takzim.

The 1.90m-tall defender said: "It will be a whole new ball game; I heard the coach (Cesar Fernando Jimenez) will have five technical coaches, like how it is like in Europe.

"It will be interesting and fun to see how it'll be like and I'm sure if I tackle the additional pressure properly I can also be successful with them."

HONOUR ROLL

Most Valuable Player: Badhri Radzi (Kelantan)

Best striker: Norfarhan Muhammad (Kelantan)

Best midfielder: Badhri Radzi (Kelantan)

Best defender: Baihakki Khaizan (LionsXII)

Best goalkeeper: Khairul Fahmi Che Mat (Kelantan)

Best coach: Dollah Salleh (Pahang)

Best foreign player: Marlon James (ATM)

Most promising player: Junior Eldstal (Sarawak)


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