Veteran striker Indra Sahdan's last hurrah

He started his S.League career with the then-Police FC in 1996, but it was the following year when striker Indra Sahdan joined Geylang International that he announced his arrival in the local league.

Twenty years on, the 36-year-old's football journey has come full circle by rejoining the Eagles on a one-year contract.

The two-time S.League champions will likely be Indra's last professional stop, as the former international striker looks set to call time on a football career, in which he has earned 113 caps and scored 31 goals for the Lions, earning a reputation for scoring in big games.

After scoring two goals in Geylang's 8-0 friendly win over Singapore Cricket Club (SCC) at Bedok Stadium yesterday, Indra told The New Paper: "It feels good coming back to my 'first' club, I never thought I would come back here.

"I think this will be my last club, I won't be going anywhere any more."

The 1.72m-tall forward had initially hung up his boots at the end of 2014, after his contract with Home United ended.


Tampines Rovers lured him out of retirement last season, but he was a bit-part player in the Stags' failed bid for the S.League title.

Indra said: "I got a few games with Tampines, but I would say I have been out of the game for about a year... I am here because of coach Hasrin (Jailani), (Mohd) Noor Ali and Aide (Iskandar, who is part of the club's management).

"They were my teammates once and now they are part of the staff here, and so when Mr Bambang (Sugeng, Geylang management committee member) also called me, I thought I'd give it one more year, or however long they want me, as long as I can keep playing and running."

The boyish-looking forward no longer attends every training session, as he is also running a new chauffeured limousine service, which he set up with a friend late last year.

He said: "It is very hard for me to train full-time... and I don't feel good not coming for training because I am a professional player, but the club and the coach understand my situation.

"I also promised them that when I do come for training, or play in matches, I will give my all to the club."

He may be slower and may not last the full 90 minutes any more, but Indra showed he has lost none of his predatory instincts by notching a brace against National Football League Division II champions SCC yesterday.


But, with attacking players such as Branko Cubrilo, Gabriel Quak, Sahil Suhaimi, Shahfiq Ghani (injured), Amy Recha and Brandon Koh at his disposal, coach Hasrin sees Indra's role as more of a mentor to his younger teammates.

Hasrin said: "He used to be a striker, but now, he can also drop back into midfield.

"He is still sharp and, although he may not last 90 minutes, he can give you that extra bite and experience on the pitch in the 15 or 20 minutes he plays."

The Eagles received a boost just a week before their season-opener against Jermaine Pennant's Tampines Rovers on Feb 15, when defender Shariff Samat, 32, cleared his 2.4km running test yesterday morning.

With the exception of the injured Shahfiq, Shariff was the last Geylang player to pass the mandatory fitness test, with Sahil, Indra, Cubrilo and Anders Aplin clearing the run on Thursday.

Hasrin said: "Now that everyone has finished the fitness test, it is easier to concentrate on the team... we can now move forward in terms of our pre-season preparation."

This article was first published on February 7, 2016.
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