Kedah eye Lions' star Safuwan
Malaysia Cup champions' coach says Lions star would 'suit team very well'
From experiencing relegation to being part of the Malaysia Cup champions.
That could be the path national football ace Safuwan Baharudin takes as he mulls over the next destination of his club career.
The 25-year-old, who still has a year to go on his contract with the Football Association of Singapore (FAS), is understood to be weighing up a number of offers from overseas.
He was on loan at Malaysian Super League (MSL) side PDRM FA last season, but suffered the agony of relegation to the second-tier Malaysian Premier League on the last day of the season.
The Cops, however, surprised many by reaching the semi-finals of the Malaysia Cup, where they were knocked out by eventual winners Kedah FA.
Safuwan, who played in both legs of the semi-final, caught the eye of Kedah coach Tan Cheng Hoe with his displays.
The 48-year-old coach revealed to The New Paper that he has earmarked the Singapore star as a foreign signing for next season.
"I am still talking with my management but, yes, Safuwan is a player we are interested in," said Tan. "I think he would suit our team very well."
I still want to venture overseas, and hopefully go to a club where I can establish myself as a player and make things right..." Safuwan Baharudin
As Safuwan is still under contract, Kedah will have to submit a formal request to FAS. They might also have to fork out a fee to sign the player.
TNP understands PDRM coughed up RM100,000 (S$32,196) to secure Safuwan's services last season.
PDRM are reportedly keen on extending Safuwan's loan, but Kedah, who are one of Malaysia's top clubs with three MSL titles and five Malaysia Cups, are a more attractive prospect.
Tan, who together with current Singapore national coach V Sundramoorthy was part of the Kedah team that won the Malaysia Cup in 1990, feels Safuwan would make an ideal addition to his squad.
Kedah have retained Kosovo midfielder Liridon Krasniqi and Brazilian forward Sandro da Silva for next season, and have two more foreigner slots to fill.
"One thing Safuwan brings is his utility - we know he can play in defence, midfield and also as a striker," said Tan.
"He played for PDRM last season so we know he can perform in the MSL.
"And he can speak both Malay and English, so language will not be a problem."
Safuwan, who made his name as a centre back, played mostly in an attacking role for PDRM, scoring seven goals in all competitions. Four of his six national team goals have come over the last 18 months.
The lanky star said he is eager to play overseas again, and build on his time with PDRM, which followed a three-month loan at A-League club Melbourne City early last year which was cut short due to injury.
He told TNP he was happy to learn of Kedah's interest, but added he was calm as a concrete offer had not been made yet.
"It's always good to hear clubs are keen on me, and I've always dreamed of playing for a state team in Malaysia," said Safuwan.
"Kedah has always been a fantastic place to play at, and the fans are very passionate.
"I've got a few offers from different clubs, so the thing for me now is to sit down and think.
"I still want to venture overseas, and hopefully go to a club where I can establish myself as a player and make things right, because 2016 has not been a good year for me (professionally) and I did not win any trophies.
"So I want to go to a club where I can improve as a player and win titles."