Football: All but an Army man

Football: All but an Army man
Singapore's goalkeeper Hassan Sunny directs his team mates during a training session at the Songdo LNG football training field on 16 September 2014.

SINGAPORE - Goalkeeper Hassan Sunny has been under a fair bit of pressure recently as he continued negotiations on a move to Thai Premier League side Army United.

From time to time, concerned friends and family members asked him about the ongoing transfer discussions, which took longer than negotiations conducted by S.League clubs.

Last night, the 30-year-old Singapore star was a relieved man.

He had received an e-mail from the Thai club's owners in England that the contract terms have all been settled.

Now, all that is left is medical and administrative paperwork before the reigning Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League Player of the Year will be unveiled in Bangkok.

Speaking to The New Paper last night, Hassan said: "It is a bit of a relief now that we have agreed terms, I am less stressed now. "I don't have an agent, so I have been handling this on my own.

"And a lot of people have been asking me about the move, especially since (ex-Arsenal player) Jermaine Pennant was on trial with me last week."

The 32-year-old featured for Muang Thong United in their 1-0 friendly win over Army last week.

Hassan, who had signed for S.League giants Tampines Rovers after helping Warriors FC win the title last season, does not have details of his medical and signing date yet, but the Thai league's transfer window closes next Wednesday.

The Thai league kicks off in March.

NEGOTIATE

He has been dealing with the club's owners King Power International, which also owns English Premier League side Leicester City.

King Power are based in England and latest exchanges have been done via e-mail, with the eight-hour time difference complicating matters.

Hassan, who has been training with the Stags this while, is grateful to the club, coach V Sundramoorthy and chairman Teo Hock Seng for their help and has also discussed with his family the logistics of moving to Bangkok.

He is relishing the prospect of facing the likes of Pennant, and members of the victorious Thai team in last year's Suzuki Cup.

He said: "I am in the big pond now, against the big boys. There, a superstar in the national team can expect a lot of media attention before and after training, while it isn't always the case here."

He doesn't expect much in terms of national team action this year, with the focus firmly on the Singapore Under-23s' bid for gold at the June South-east Asia Games on home soil.

"So far I haven't heard of any plans for the national team this year... but I will come back if I am called up," said Hassan, who wonders if heads will roll after the Lions' group-stage exit from last year's Suzuki Cup.

"There could be changes in the national team after our Suzuki Cup campaign last year, but I hope I am not part of it."


This article was first published on Jan 22, 2015.
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