Hassan in limbo
Singapore No. 1 hopes for loan deal to continue in Thai top flight
The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) confirmed yesterday (Oct 17) that the country's top football competition, the Thai Premier League (TPL), has ended.
It means that Army United, where Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny plies his trade, will be relegated to Division 1.
Hassan, the Singapore No. 1, is hoping he can secure a loan move and stay in the top flight.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, the 32-year-old, who kept five clean sheets for his club this season, said: "I still have one more year on my contract with Army United, so I will have to play in Division 1 if they want me to.
"No disrespect to Division 1, but I would like to still play in the top division if possible, as I feel I can still play at this level.
"I have had some verbal interest from some TPL clubs, although given my contract circumstances, they would have to pay a transfer fee to sign me on a permanent deal, which is more common for locals than imports here.
"There is a new chairman at my club, so I'm not sure now what direction they want to take for next season.
"I will meet with him soon and hope to get a clearer picture.
"If I don't fit in their plans, I will request to go on loan at another TPL club."
The FAT announced the conclusion of the 18-team TPL season with three matches to go following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej last Thursday.
The league standings at the time were deemed final, with Muang Thong United crowned champions and the bottom three - Army United, Chainat Hornbill and BBCU - relegated, while upcoming cup finals would be decided by a draw.
According to Thailand daily Siam Sport, Army United had complained of "unfair relegation with three matches and nine points to play for", as there were teams ahead of them they still could have caught.
After a meeting with the affected clubs, the FAT upheld the original decision.
Hassan can look back at two fruitful seasons in the TPL in which he has become a fan favourite with his committed and commanding displays.
Earlier this year, he was named by British newspaper The Telegraph as the 18th-best goalkeeper in the world.
"I love the challenge here in Thailand," said Hassan.
"Week in, week out, every game feels like an international match here in terms of the standard of play, the intensity and the environment.
"We can all feel the excitement of a game day and it's a league which every Singaporean footballer should aspire to play in.
"I have always given 100 per cent in every game I play and it's nice that the fans acknowledge that and tell us they appreciate us regardless of the results.
"The team I play for are not one of the strongest or richest, and there's definitely pressure to perform as an import, but I have really enjoyed my time here and I'm looking forward to playing in the TPL for at least another season."