Goalkeeper Izwan could be reunited with former Lions coach Raddy in Thailand

Goalkeeper Izwan could be reunited with former Lions coach Raddy in Thailand
Former Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic (left) and goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud (above) are both on the radar of Thai club Chonburi.
PHOTO: BH

Izwan Mahbud has been linked with Thai Premier League (TPL) side Chonburi and, if the Singapore international does make the move, he could be greeted by one, if not two, familiar faces.

Radojko Avramovic, one of the most successful coaches to helm the Singapore national team, has been linked with five Thai clubs including Chonburi, who have former national fitness coach Aleksandar Bozenko on their books.

After 11 years in Singapore, Bozenko, whose last assignment was with the now-defunct LionsXII in the Malaysian Super League (MSL), joined the Thai side after he was informed that his contract with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) would not be extended.

Avramovic, who led Singapore to three ASEAN titles between 2003 and 2012, parted ways with the Myanmar Football Association in October, was also rumoured to be linked to the vacant Malaysian national team position.

Abdul Halim, the managing director of Offside Sports who is acting as the agent for the 66-year-old Serb, believes Avramovic's future could be settled soon.

"In the next few weeks, we should get some concrete offers on the table, and I will be negotiating for the best possible package for him, with club stability, their financial well-being as well as strong grassroots support," he said.

FAMILIAR FACE

"With regard to Chonburi, well, to be reunited with someone familiar, and someone you've worked with before always helps," he added, when asked about the Bozenko connection.

Bozenko spent eight of his 11 years in Singapore, working with Avramovic, who is also being eyed by BEC Tero Sasana, Sisaket, Ratchaburi as well as Army United, where another Singapore international goalkeeper, Hassan Sunny, is plying his trade.

The New Paper had earlier reported that following the LionsXII's departure from the MSL, Izwan went for trials with Japanese second-tier side Matsumoto Yamaga.

Chonburi had also got in touch with the FAS enquiring about the goalkeeper, who has yet to decide on his future.

Izwan shot to international prominence after a stunning performance in Singapore's 0-0 draw with Japan in a World Cup/Asian Cup qualifier in June, but a path to Thailand has been paved by Hassan.

The former Tampines Rovers goalkeeper enjoyed a brilliant debut season in the TPL with Army United.

He helped the team into two cup semi-finals, and has recently been named the TPL's Goalkeeper of the Year by two Thai media outlets.

Halim believes that Avramovic would settle equally well in Thailand.

"He has an excellent record of success in the region, and he is familiar with the culture and the players, I think that carries a lot of weight," he said.

While officials of Chonburi could not be contacted by press time, sources revealed that Singapore coach Bernd Stange is also linked with the club.

The German has been in charge of the Lions since May 2013, and his contract is believed to end in April, after the final second round WCQ group fixture, away to Afghanistan on March 29.


This article was first published on Dec 20, 2015.
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