Malaysia's good

Malaysia's good
LionsXII defenders Safuwan Baharudin (left) and Baihakki Khaizan at a training session at Selayang Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

Two weeks ago, The New Paper's Associate Editor Leonard Thomas wrote a comment on the issue of Singapore football talent going abroad.

It came after TNP reported that LionsXII coach V Sundramoorthy and defenders Baihakki Khaizan and Hariss Harun were set to sign for Malaysian clubs next season.

Thomas' stance was that Singapore should not be losing talent to Malaysia and that the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) had to do more to send players and coaches to overseas locations with a far higher standard of the game.

Reader Ng Kah Keong disagreed, and in a lengthy letter, which was also posted on the FAS' Facebook page, he said our players and coaches should be encouraged to play abroad.

TNP decided to hold a forum with Ng and other fans with opinions on the matter. Ng didn't respond despite repeated invitations from TNP.

But four fans did. Fakhruddin Rafie, Tan Hwee Heng, Yip Siu Ming and Munasar Abdul Rashid, a former S-League footballer attended the forum held at TNP yesterday. Here, Ali Kasim reports on the dialogue and Q&A session held between the group and Thomas.

Leonard: This issue was sparked by Sundram's departure to Negeri Sembilan and the potential transfers of Baihakki, Hariss, Shahril Ishak and Safuwan Baharudin to Malaysian clubs. The author of the letter said that we should encourage their move to Malaysia as it would improve their game. Do you agree?

Fakhruddin: I don't agree. Perhaps for Baihakki's case, it's understandable because he's already 30. He's reached his peak and if he's getting $25,000 or so a month, then he should take it. But for Hariss and Safuwan, who are young, they shouldn't rush for the money. They should rush for development. Hariss received an offer from Portugal (Rio Ave) - if he took it and shines there, more doors will open for him and for other youngsters here. Then, the money will follow.

Leonard: So, how far should FAS get involved to get these players and local coaches attached to higher leagues, like the J-League for example?

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