Hassan to play friendlies in Japan for third-tier side
Goalkeeper to play two friendly games for third-tier side
Hassan Sunny had to scramble yesterday.
First to buy winter clothing and then home to pack before rushing to catch a flight at Changi Airport.
But throughout the mad dash, he could not stop smiling, and for good reason.
The 32-year-old is getting an opportunity - albeit a brief one - to play in Japan.
The Home United custodian received an invite from Japanese third-tier side Gainare Tottori, and just two days after hearing the news, he hopped onto a plane early this morning to meet the team in Osaka.
Hassan will join the team from tomorrow and play two friendly games before returning to take the S.League's mandatory 2.4 kilometre test next Friday morning.
Speaking to The New Paper before heading to the airport last night, a pleased Hassan said he is grateful to his employers.
"It is my dream to play in Japan, and even if it's not to sign for the club, but to play in a couple of friendlies, I will be satisfied," he said of the opportunity that arose after the club were given videos of him in action.
"I'm very excited to go there, and I must thank my club chairman and the management for allowing me to take up this opportunity, especially at such short notice."
Hassan has already turned out twice for Home this season in the AFC Cup qualifiers against Cambodian side Phnom Pehn Crown, which the Protectors won 7-3 on aggregate, and he is acutely aware that he is a player contracted to the club for the season ahead.
He said: "I have been invited by the club to train with them, and I'm not thinking about signing for them or anything like that for now.
"I'm just going there to train, play two games, and hopefully make a mark."
"Even if they (Gianare Tottori) want me, they will have to go through the proper procedures.
"I'm very aware that I'm contracted to Home. I have to be fair to Home United and also fair to myself.
"I'm turning 33, how often do you get an invite from a Japanese club to go train with them?"
No Singaporean has played professionally in Japan, but Hassan will not be the first Singaporean to try his luck there. Indeed, he is not even the first goalkeeper.
In December 2015, Izwan Mahbud spent a week with J2 League side Matsumoto Yamaga, but did not get an offer.
Just last week, Geylang International wingers Gabriel Quak and Shawal Anuar joined the same club for a stint, but they too did not earn a contract.
Home did not respond to TNP's queries by press time.
Whatever happens in Japan, Hassan is sure he will return with the joy and invaluable experience of having trained and played in Japan.
"I can't say enough of how excited I am," he said.
"One thing is for sure, I will share whatever I learn there with the younger boys here."