Hafiz Abu Sujad impresses during trial in Thailand
National winger hoping for a contract offer after impressing during trial with Thai second-tier club
He did what he had to on the pitch and, now, all Hafiz Abu Sujad can do off it, is wait.
The 26-year-old national footballer recently returned from a week-long trial at Thai second-division club Big Bang Chula United (BBCU) and the response from the Bangkok-based club has been positive.
Abdul Halim, the managing director of Offside Sports Management, who helped arrange Hafiz's trial, told The New Paper: "The team's head coach and manager were impressed by his professionalism, attitude and ability.
"They would like to sign him, but need approval from the club's management and president first."
Halim added that he expected an official reply from BBCU on whether they have an offer for Hafiz by the end of next week.
Hafiz has already signed a contract extension with S.League club Tampines Rovers for the 2017 season, but left for Thailand with the blessing of Stags chairman Murali Krishna Ramachandra.
The versatile player, whose favourite position is on the left wing but can also play as a left back or central midfielder, is not counting his chickens before they hatch.
He told TNP: "There were a few other foreigners they were looking at, so most of the time we played two-sided games - seven v seven, eight v eight and the full 11-a-side - and I managed to play at left wing and at wing back.
If I do get a contract, I know I have to be a top professional, eat the right foods and keep myself fit and healthy. I would have to perform above the rest and cannot slack even a little bit.National team footballer Hafiz Abu Sujad
"Definitely, the football over there is faster-paced and it's something different I had to adapt to.
"I was grateful I got this opportunity and, having gone there for a trial, of course I want a contract.
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"At the same time, I don't want to hope for it too much, in case it doesn't work out. Basically, I'm just in waiting mode right now."
Hafiz was the only Singaporean in the four-man shortlist for the S.League Player of the Year award last season, alongside Hougang United's Japanese midfielder Fumiya Kogure, Home United's Danish striker Ken Ilso and eventual winner Atsushi Kawata, who fired Japanese outfit Albirex Niigata to their first S.League title.
At last month's AFF Suzuki Cup, however, he had a tournament to forget after getting sent off just 34 minutes into Singapore's first match, a 0-0 draw against hosts Philippines.
Singapore crashed out at the group stage following defeats by Thailand and Indonesia.
Hafiz's shot at a career in South-east Asia's top footballing nation is largely made possible because of a rule change in Thai football.
Starting next year, an Asean player slot will be introduced for teams in the country's second-division clubs.
The top-tier Thai Premier League will adopt the same format the following year.
Hafiz said: "I went there not knowing what it's like to be an import player.
"But if I do get a contract, I know I have to be a top professional, eat the right foods and keep myself fit and healthy.
"I would have to perform above the rest and cannot slack even a little bit.
"But, as I said, I'm trying not to think about it too much at the moment. God willing, everything will go well."