Singapore players should follow Baihakki’s bold career choices
One of the most inspirational Singaporean footballers of his generation has spent most of his career playing away from Singapore.
That’s the point.
He’s a role model in smart risk-taking, a rare, local professional who has squeezed every last drop from his early potential
As his 34th birthday approaches, Baihakki Khaizan continues to take the road less travelled. He’s a role model in smart risk-taking, a rare, local professional who has squeezed every last drop from his early potential.
In a struggling industry handicapped by conservative thinking, Baihakki’s resume offers compelling evidence for stepping out of the kampong.
Singaporean players are often accused of settling for an easier life within their island bubble. Baihakki burst his years ago.
His decision to join Muangthong United makes him the first Singaporean to play in four major ASEAN countries – Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
According to FFT's sources, the defender will train with Muangthong from now till early Feburary, with an option to go on loan to Thai second tier side Udon Thani on loan later on.
Baihakki's career began with Geylang United (now Geylang International) and the Young Lions, moved on to Persija Jakarta, Persib Bandung and Medan Chiefs, and then returned closer to home with Lions XII, Johor Darul Taz'im and Warriors FC before heading north to Muangthong.
But this wasn’t the work of a journeyman.
He usually took the most challenging and, yes, the most lucrative offer on the table. And why not?
Baihakki was never a desperate footballer, boots in bag, trudging from one obscure league to another in a transparent bid to exploit negligible talent.
There were always offers from decent clubs, home and away. But he usually took the most challenging and, yes, the most lucrative offer on the table. And why not?
With 129 caps to his name, Baihakki is a proud member of the Lions’ Century Club, but his fellow members seldom displayed a similar enthusiasm to explore foreign leagues and cultures.
Daniel Bennett enjoyed an illustrious stint in English football at Wrexham, but his family were originally from England.
Apart from Baihakki, Shahril Ishak was arguably the most adventurous of the group, with stints in Indonesia and Malaysia.