Safuwan mulling over Malaysia and Thailand moves

Safuwan Baharudin is weighing up his options after the conclusion of his four-year LionsXII chapter, where he blossomed from an emerging youngster to an established international.

One of the success stories of from Singapore's representatives in Malaysian football, Safuwan secured an overseas stint earlier this year with A-League club Melbourne City where he scored two goals in six appearances.

With the LionsXII’s four-year stay in Malaysian competitions coming to an end on Saturday night, the 24-year-old looks set to go abroad again next year.

“I’ve got a few offers already – some from Malaysia and some from Thailand,” he said.

“But I’m the only one with a contract of one more year with the LionsXII, so I’ve to sit down with FAS (Football Association of Singapore) to think about the possibilities on how I can depart from the team.”

While the LionsXII project has had a fair share of detractors over the years, Safuwan is adamant that the players have learnt a lot from this experience which can be applied in the next stage of their footballing lives.

“I’ve been with the team since day one and personally I think it help the players to spur to greater heights,” he said.

“One area in which we have improved in is our mental strength. Playing away games has not been easy and we have learned to play against many quality foreigners.

“For myself, it has helped me to become a better all-round player and secure my loan move to Melbourne City. I think a few of the players are ready to move out (to play abroad) now and it’s a matter of whether they really want it.

“It won’t be easy moving out of your comfort zone, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know.

“The players just have to be positive about this and take it as a learning journey, because it’s just the beginning for most of us.”

One thing which Safuwan admits that he will miss is the fervent home support at the LionsXII home games – something which he hopes can be replicated back in the S.League from next season onwards.

“Of course I’ll miss this strong support from the fans,” he said. “We cannot get this in the S.League but now we’ll have to try and see how we can attract them back.

“I’m sure if the boys were to go back to play in the S.League, it will be a totally different ball game and I hope that can spur the fans to go down and support them.”

Photo: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo