It may be only a three-month loan deal, but Singapore star defender Safuwan Baharudin is determined that his stint with Melbourne City will not turn out to be a summer holiday Down Under.
There is a tremendous buzz around the country after Australia's triumph in the Asian Cup final in Sydney yesterday.
City, who finished bottom of the A-League last season, are currently in sixth spot in the 10-team competition and face a huge test against AFC Champions League winners Western Sydney Wanderers today.
The 23-year-old centre back has been included in the match-day squad of 18 players, but he will not be in the starting line-up.
"I'll be starting on the bench," Safuwan told The New Paper.
"I know it's not going to be easy and I won't be able to just walk into the first 11, but I will work hard. I just need a chance and I will grab it.
"I don't know what will happen after April, but I'm not here to make up the numbers.
"I want to do my best and show them what I'm capable of doing in the A-League."
The 1.82-metre defender has been a mainstay of the Singapore team in recent years, after star turns with club side the LionsXII.
He impressed City coach John van't Schip while on a 12-day mid-season training camp in Abu Dhabi and, along with former Chelsea winger Damien Duff, former West Brom midfielder Robert Koren, Argentine midfielder Jonatan Germano and Dutch defender Rob Wielaert, Safuwan is one of five foreign signings at City.
The former Singapore Sports School student is hoping to be able to settle down and prove he is worthy of a long-term deal.
"One of the most difficult things has been looking for a proper apartment to live in, somewhere I can call home," said Safuwan, who is likely to wear the No. 2 shirt.
"But, I must say, I felt really at home with the team and everyone at the club has been friendly and helpful since I've got here."
Safuwan can't wait to get a first-hand look at the crowd at City's home ground AAMI Park.
Attendances have gone from a season average of 8,312 in the 2010-2011 season to around 13,000 this year.
"For now, I'm happy to be included in the (today's match-day squad of) 18," said Safuwan.
"I really want to feel the crowd here and I hope they are as excited as I am to see them."
This article was first published on February 1, 2015.
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