Hassan Sunny gets trial with Thai club
If all goes well, Hassan Sunny will realise his dream of playing overseas.
Singapore's No. 1 goalkeeper will leave today for a three-day trial with Thai Premier League side Army United.
Hassan will train with the Bangkok-based club for two days before a playing a friendly match against Samut Songkhram, another Premier League team, next Tuesday.
If he impresses, the 30-year-old will receive a contract offer from the club.
Hassan told The New Paper yesterday that he received a call from Army head coach and former Everton defender Gary Stevens on Wednesday to make the trip up north.
"It's normal for a Thai club to see a foreign player in training and in a friendly match before signing him," said Hassan. "I have to make the next few days count. It's now or never for me to play overseas.
"Hopefully, the training and the match on Tuesday will go smoothly."
Hassan, the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League's Player of the Year last season after helping Warriors FC win the league title, signed for title rivals Tampines Rovers last month and has been training with the Stags the past week.
On Dec 26, TNP reported that Hassan, who was then on holiday in England, was approached to go on a trial with Premier League side Leicester City in England, in view of a move to Army United.
Both clubs are owned by King Power International which pays the salaries of the foreign players at the Thai club.
However, the Leicester move did not happen and Hassan said he "gave up" on the possibility of moving to Thailand when he resumed training with Tampines.
But the move is now back on as Stevens is a big fan of the goalkeeper, who was recommended to the Thai club by Singapore goalkeeping coach John Burridge.
"I thought the chance was gone because (Stevens) told me the club were reluctant to sign a foreign goalkeeper," Hassan said.
"But Stevens kept pushing them because he really wanted me. He has been e-mailing me since the Suzuki Cup (at the end of last year) telling me to be patient.
"I really feel appreciated, and hope I can repay his faith."
Hassan is thankful to Tampines Rovers and club chairman Teo Hock Seng for allowing his release to sign for an overseas club.
The custodian met with Teo and head coach V Sundramoorthy yesterday to discuss his departure.
Teo, according to Hassan, gave the player the go-ahead and told him that he can return to play for Tampines should Army United choose not to sign him.
"Tampines tried to convince me to stay, but I told them how much I really wanted this move," Hassan said.
"If the Thai move doesn't work out, I would still have a place at Tampines, but I need to give them a timeline.
"Army United assured me that they will let me know of their decision soon after Tuesday's match."
Tampines, who have signed a host of new players in their efforts to regain S.League supremacy, now have just one goalkeeper on their books - former Geylang and Balestier custodian Joey Sim.
Sundram said he wished Hassan all the best in his trial with Army United.
Said Sundram: "We would love to have Hassan stay because he's a good goalkeeper.
"We will wait until after his trial in Thailand before signing another goalkeeper."