Football: Offers pour in for defender Baihaki

Football: Offers pour in for defender Baihaki
Baihakki Khaizan, who is set to earn his 100th cap for Singapore, has mapped out what he wants to do after he hangs up his football boots.

On Friday, Baihakki Khaizan will reach a milestone when he wins his 100th cap for Singapore in an away friendly against China. But the footballer is already looking further ahead.

Looking relaxed and cheerful, the first-choice centre-back for the Lions welcomed The Straits Times to the office of his new business venture, 3Bai3 Creative Works, an interior design company in Joo Chiat Road. At 29, he is in his footballing prime, winning the Malaysian Super League (MSL) title recently with the LionsXII and his services coveted by clubs abroad. Off the pitch, he is happily married to Suria singer-actress Norfasarie Yahya.

They have two children - son Mika Bazil, four, and daughter Moza Alyka, two. And with his family in mind, Baihakki hinted that he could embark on one last football adventure overseas after his LionsXII contract expires at the end of this year before his career winds down.

"The next decision will be the most important one of my football career. This time, I have to put my family first," he said.

"I have not decided on who to sign for but my decision will be based on what's best for my family."

Currently, four clubs are in the running to sign the 1.9m-tall defender - Bangkok Glass from the Thai Premier League, Malaysian military side ATM, MSL big spenders Johor Darul Takzim and second-tiered Malaysian Premier League side Johor FA.

Baihakki declined to divulge more about his suitors but a source close to him said Johor FA are willing to triple his current monthly salary - said to be $10,000 - and throw in a $40,000 signing bonus as well.

Playing overseas is nothing new to him as he has had previous stints with Indonesian clubs Persija, Persib Bandung and Medan Chiefs, lasting a total of nearly three years from 2009-11. But the offer from Johor comes with a perk. The proximity just across the Causeway will make commuting convenient as he juggles family life, business and football.

Explaining his decision to play in Indonesia previously, he said: "I was younger and I wanted to do something different and taste other kinds of football.

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