LionsXII break-up imminent as offers pour in

Captain Shahril Ishak holding his head in dismay after the LionsXII's elimination from the Malaysia Cup. He has been offered a new two-year contract by the FAS but admits talking to a few MSL clubs. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER
Captain Shahril Ishak holding his head in dismay after the LionsXII's elimination from the Malaysia Cup. He has been offered a new two-year contract by the FAS but admits talking to a few MSL clubs. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER
Coach V.Sundramoorthy shaking the fans' hands for their support at the Selayang Stadium where the LionsXII crashed out of the Malaysia Cup after a 2-4 aggregate loss to ATM in the quarter-finals.
 Captain Shahril Ishak holding his head in dismay afte
Coach V.Sundramoorthy shaking the fans' hands for their support at the Selayang Stadium where the LionsXII crashed out of the Malaysia Cup after a 2-4 aggregate loss to ATM in the quarter-finals. Captain Shahril Ishak holding his head in dismay after the LionsXII's elimination from the Malaysia Cup. He has been offered a new two-year contract by the FAS but admits talking to a few MSL clubs.PHOTOS: THE NEW PAPER

No angry words or pointing of fingers.

Even after witnessing his side's Malaysia Cup dreams dismantled in the most comprehensive of manners, all LionsXII coach V. Sundramoorthy had to say to his boys was: "Thank you."

It was arguably the biggest hint yet that Friday's 1-4 quarter-final second-leg defeat by ATM will be his final match in charge of the Singapore outfit.

For now, he is keeping his cards close to his chest, saying that he will inform the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) tomorrow of his decision to accept or turn down its offer of a new deal.

However, the 47-year-old is believed to have already agreed on a move to coach Negeri Sembilan, who were relegated to the second-tier Malaysian Premier League.

Should Sundram leave, the list of candidates to succeed him is believed to include former national captains Fandi Ahmad and Aide Iskandar.

With a bevy of suitors for stalwarts like Hariss Harun, Baihakki Khaizan, Isa Halim, Safuwan Baharudin and captain Shahril Ishak, Friday's match could also spell the end for the potent spine of the LionsXII team who clinched the Malaysian Super League earlier this year.

Vice-captain Hariss yesterday confirmed for the first time that he is in talks with big-spending Johor Darul Takzim.

"There's an offer on the table from them and the FAS has spoken to me as well," the midfielder, 22, revealed.

"Playing overseas has always been one of my goals but I am considering my options and will sort out my future within the next week or two."

Similarly, talismanic skipper Shahril has also been offered a new two-year contract to continue donning LionsXII colours.

"It would be a great honour for me to stay and lead the team," the 29-year-old told The Sunday Times.

"But I've also been talking to a few Malaysian Super League clubs, so I'll see how it goes."

Safuwan has reportedly attracted interest from both Negeri Sembilan and T-Team, while his defensive partner Baihakki is linked with a lucrative move to Johor FA.

Both Hariss and Isa pointed out that they are willing to stay on, provided they are comfortable with the make-up of next year's team.

The FAS is yet to decide whether next year's LionsXII will be a squad made up primarily of Under-22 players, in preparation for the 2015 SEA Games.

"The FAS has to be clear in their aim for next year's team," Hariss stressed.

Isa is deciding between staying on and moving to one of two Malaysian sides - one in the top-flight MSL, the other in the Premier League.

He also received offers from S-League clubs, although he added: "Sad to say, they can't compete."

"At the moment, I'm leaning towards the MSL team," said the 27-year-old.

"With a few key players gone, I want to see which players they are bringing in. And the coach is also an important factor - as a player, you need to be comfortable with the coach's style.

"The FAS needs to decide as soon as possible; by keeping mum, it's not fair on us."