Locals playing overseas good for Singapore football: Officials, players

Locals playing overseas good for Singapore football: Officials, players
Baihakki Khaizan playing in a practice game.

Losing players to overseas leagues does not mean local football is losing out; not as long as Singapore continues to develop talent to replace the stars who leave.

Balestier Khalsa chairman S Thavaneson said fans and football administrators should not have a myopic view on players leaving to ply their trade in Malaysia.

His comments come as a reaction to The New Paper's story yesterday which detailed LionsXII defender Baihakki Khaizan's lucrative move to Johor FA.

From next year, Baihakki will play for moneybags Johor FA in the Malaysian Premier League in a four-year deal that will see him bank in a total of $1.5 million.

Baihakki, 29, told TNP that he had signed the deal with the Malaysian second-tier side, and sources have revealed that he will be earning $30,000 per month, not including allowances and a signing-on fee.

The defender joins national captain Shahril Ishak and vice-captain Hariss Harun to Johor FA and Johor Darul Takzim respectively.

Thava said the players' decisions were understandable and not an indication that Singapore football was lagging behind.

He said: "The myopic view is that we are losing players to our Causeway rivals. But, though the clubs here will miss out on such players, the national team will still benefit when they return for international duty.

"Football here is in the professional era, and I've always been supportive of players who can get a lucrative contract from elsewhere.

"It's good also for the younger players. Then they can see that when they work hard, success and money will follow."

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