Back in LionsXII's den
But Baihakki likely to be prevented from playing in tasty MSL clash against JDT on May 20
The chips fell as they did and the path was cleared, and finally, Baihakki Khaizan has found his way back to Jalan Besar Stadium - in a LionsXII shirt.
Speaking to The New Paper shortly after he put pen to paper to confirm his move from Malaysian Super League (MSL) side Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) yesterday, the central defender was looking at the big picture.
Baihakki will play for the LionsXII until the end of the season in November before returning to Johor's second-tier outfit JDT II.
"This year is very important for me, because Singapore are co-hosts of the AFF Suzuki Cup, and also the defending champions," he said.
"There are games are being played at the new National Stadium and I wouldn't want to take the risk of not playing competitive football and jeopardising my chances of being involved in that tourney.
"It was important that I join the LionsXII to help both my preparations and the national team."
The 30-year-old was on a $30,000-a-month, four-year deal with JDT and revealed that he has had to take a "significant pay cut", but, as he did last week, again declined to reveal details.
"Yes it's a massive pay cut. But at this stage of my career, I feel that there are more important things than just money. If I don't play regularly in the build-up to the main tournament, come end of the year, I could lose out even more in football terms."
A Football Association of Singapore (FAS) spokesman confirmed the deal yesterday, but added: "His move is not official yet because we are waiting for the Football Association of Malaysia to finalise the paperwork and give the green light."
In the absence of official ratification, the FAS decided to ask Baihakki to stay away from the LionsXII training session last night, but more worrying for the Singapore side is a clause in the terms of termination of Baihakki's JDT contract.
TNP understands that the Johor side have inserted a clause stating that the player will not be allowed to play against JDT in the MSL, as well as in the post-season Malaysia Cup campaign.
It is believed the FAS is looking to speak with its Johor counterparts to remove the clause.
Three days after the LionsXII resume the defence of their MSL title away to Terengganu on May 17, they will host JDT at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Baihakki was part of the LionsXII class of 2013, who won the MSL by conceding a league-low 15 goals in 22 games.
Goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud is looking forward to Baihakki's return, which will help shore up a defence that has looked woefully short.
Said Izwan: "Baihakki will add a lot of experience to the team. Also, his inclusion will strengthen the team and it will motivate other players to work even harder for the rest of the season."
Last month JDT, de-registered Baihakki, along with Argentine playmaker Pablo Aimar, to inject fresh foreign blood into the team.
Baihakki is likely to sit out tonight's training session, and will step out onto the pitch as a LionsXII player tomorrow.