Raihan out to prove his worth with Balestier
Preparation for the upcoming season had been nothing but full of uncertainty for Balestier Khalsa.
Although they acquired some transfers from the local front, it was not till two weeks before the season was due to start that they filled their foreign quota with three Myanmar internationals.
However, if there is someone that can inspire the Tigers to finish better than their eighth-placed finish last year, it would be midfielder Raihan Rahman.
He was close to hanging up his boots following his release from Hougang United in December, but the desire to prove his former paymasters wrong convinced him he should persevere in his football career.
“I was released from Hougang when no one expected me to leave. I will prove myself to Hougang on what they are missing out on.” said the former LionsXII man to FourFourTwo.
When the fixture list was released for the upcoming season, Raihan was quick to see if Balestier were up against Hougang in the first round of games.
“I am looking forward to facing them. Whatever that has happened is very sad, but the fire in me is still burning. It doesn’t mean that I am with Balestier, I won’t play my best. I will play my best for whichever team I am playing for because I hate to lose.”
This isn’t the first time Raihan will be teaming up with coach Marko Kraljevic. The latter was Raihan’s coach in 2007 when he was with the Centre of Excellence combined U-16 and he hopes Raihan could become an integral part of the Tigers.
Raihan is joined by his former team-mate Huzaifah Aziz, 22, from Hougang. Winger Jonathan Tan, 21, defenders Ashrul Syafeeq, and Tajeli Salamat, both 22, have been signed from the Garena Young Lions.
Raihan is a natural leader and always brings the boys together in the team and it was easy to bring him here.
“Raihan is a natural leader and always brings the boys together in the team and it was easy to bring him here,” said the 51-year-old.
The former Woodlands Wellington coach will be hoping for better fortunes this season, after he experienced the unfamiliar agony of finishing in eighth place last season.
With the three Burmese and the young locals, Kraljevic is hopeful that the Tigers’ can claw out of the bottom of the table this season.
He added: “We are going to be playing with young boys and I don’t know what to expect. A lot of hard work has to be done and that depends on foreign players coming in.
“These attacking players can change a lot for us upfront because I believe that the goalkeeper and captain Zaiful Nizam and defenders are good.”
Photos: Balestier Khalsa