M. Anumanthan eyes silverware with new team Kedah
Midfielder eyes silverware after joining Kedah on a five-figure salary
Singaporean midfielder M. Anumanthan is hoping to rekindle a successful partnership with Kedah coach Aidil Sharin, after being cleared to join the Malaysian Super League (MSL) giants on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old signed a one-year deal on Dec 14 that comes with a five-figure monthly salary, twice what he was earning this year at Hougang United.
Having received the green light to travel from the Malaysian health and immigration authorities, he will be flying to Penang this weekend for a 14-day quarantine before joining his new teammates for pre-season training.
The move across the Causeway would see Anu ply his trade outside of Singapore for the first time and he is eager to get going in his chase for success.
With Kedah helmed by compatriot Aidil, Anu believes he can realise his goals.
"Kedah are a big team with history who will always fight for trophies and I want to help them to be successful," Anu told The New Paper of his new side, who were second last season.
"They also have a very good coach in Aidil. Where Aidil has gone, success has followed him.
"He is also a very fair coach. We have a professional relationship and I know it won't be a walk in the park for me at Kedah, as Aidil has very high expectations of his players."
Besides the runners-up spot in the MSL, Aidil also led Kedah to Malaysian FA Cup glory and the Malaysia Cup final last year.
Anu has had first-hand experience of Aidil's coaching capabilities when they worked together at Home United (now known as Lion City Sailors).
The pair helped Home finish second in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) in 2018 and reach the AFC Cup Asean Zone finals in 2017 and 2018, winning it in the second year.
On his new midfield dynamo, Aidil said: "I had a position that needed to be filled and Anu fits the role perfectly.
"I've been monitoring him since his national service days, he is more mature now... I believe if a player understands how the team play, he will fit into the system fast and well."
Next season, Anu will be rubbing shoulders with compatriots Hariss Harun (Johor Darul Ta'zim), Safuwan Baharudin (Selangor) and Shakir Hamzah, who has joined Perak after leaving Kedah.
He expects a trying period ahead of him, but feels that playing in a "more competitive league" would aid his development and possibly pave the way for more avenues.
"I won't be 26 again, so I have to seize the opportunity when it comes along," said Anu, who also had offers from newly promoted MSL side Penang and SPL outfits Tampines Rovers and Sailors.
"All the signs were pointing to remaining here, even one of the SPL club's offer was similar to Kedah's.
"But I had to do it for myself. I have always wanted to test myself outside of the SPL and I felt this is the right time. I also consulted my close friend Zulfahmi (Arifin).
"He told me: 'In this Covid-19 period, foreign leagues are less likely to sign overseas players due to the many restrictions in place, so you should grab this chance'."
Midfielder Zulfahmi joined Thai League 1 side Samut Prakan City from fellow top-tier outfit Suphanburi on Tuesday, having also played for Chonburi.
"Moving to a new league also means I have to prove myself to others again and I relish that," added Anu.
"I know I have my doubters here, so I can prove them wrong as well."
But the decision to play abroad means having to leave his partner Raisa, 29, behind.
"She is very supportive of my decision, she is happy for me but she has been crying every day since," said Anu.
"But, unfortunately, I can't bring her with me as she recently got a new job and I can't just expect her to relocate."