Football: Shahril, Baihakki still in same club as both sign for Warriors

Baihakki Khaizan giving the thumbs-up after finally signing for an S-League club to be able to play close to his family next season.
Baihakki Khaizan giving the thumbs-up after finally signing for an S-League club to be able to play close to his family next season.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ BAIHAKKI06

They had spent most of their careers together, and once again, Shahril Ishak and Baihakki Khaizan will join forces at club level with Warriors FC their latest port of call.

Both players confirmed that they had signed one-year deals and will be playing their club football on home soil for the first time since 2013.

However, national captain Shahril revealed that he and Baihakki did not plan on joining the Warriors together.

The attacking midfielder told The Straits Times: "It's quite funny that we've signed at the same time, but we've never planned this move together. It's funny that both of us are together again."

As S-League rookies, the duo joined forces at the Young Lions (2004-2006) before playing for Persib Bandung in the Indonesian Super League (2010-2011), the now-defunct Indonesian Premier League side Medan Chiefs (2011-2012), the LionsXII (2012-2013) in the Malaysian Super League and Johor Darul Takzim II (2014-2016) in the second-tiered Malaysian Premier League.

While the players, both of whom turn 33 at the end of this month, have won titles in Malaysia and with the national team, they have yet to lift the S-League trophy.

Shahril, who played 132 times for the country, said: "I've never won the S-League title, yet I was the S-League Player of the Year in 2010 before I left for overseas.

"It's a big thing for me that I'm back and I identify with the club's ambitions to win their 10th title."

The Warriors are Singapore's most successful club with nine S-League titles.

For Baihakki, the new deal marked the end of a period of anxiety in his life and brought his smile back.

The centre-back, who has 129 caps, said: "Since the AFF (Asean Football Federation) Cup ended in late November, it had been a period of uncertainty and I almost quit the game when I couldn't get a deal with a local club, due to the budget issues the league faced.

"Although I had offers from Indonesia and Malaysia, I turned them all down because I really wanted to finish my career in Singapore.

"My three kids are all growing up now and I want to be with them."

With Shahril and Baihakki finding their club of choice, that leaves Sahil Suhaimi as the only player in Singapore's AFF Cup squad without a club yet for the upcoming season.

The 24-year-old, who played for Geylang International last season, wants to try his luck overseas. His agent Abdul Halim told ST that he is trying to secure a trial in Thailand for the striker.

  • Additional reporting by Alvin Chia
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2017, with the headline 'Shahril, Baihakki still in same club as both sign for Warriors'. Print Edition | Subscribe