No Jets deal for Singapore starlet

Newcastle Jets have confirmed they won’t be pursuing a permanent deal with teenage Singaporean trialist Saifullah Akbar.

The 16-year-old midfielder last month travelled to Sydney with his family and spent time training with Newcastle’s Emerging Jets, but has now returned to Singapore.

Jets assistant coach Mark Jones had indicated to Singaporean press last month that the club were interested in a youth team deal with Saifullah.

However, the club confirmed to FourFourTwo this week that they wouldn’t be pursuing a deal with the midfielder from Singapore’s National Football Academy (NFA).

Saifullah’s stint with the Jets came only weeks after Melbourne City signed Singapore international Safuwan Baharudin.

FIFA regulations mean clubs cannot sign players under 18 unless their parents are living and working in non-football related industries in that country, thus providing a stumbling block in this instance.

Reports in Singapore had claimed Saifullah’s family were considering volunteering him for early enlistment in the National Service to give him the best shot at a professional career.

The teenager’s family have explored the idea of sending him to a football academy, with options in France, USA and Australia at the Hunter Sports High School in Newcastle.

Jones played a key role in Saifullah linking up with the Jets, given his previous role at Singapore’s NFA Under-15s coach.