Football: Retired Lions defender Baihakki Khaizan salutes Kadir Yahaya and Raddy Avramovic for 'saving his career'

Baihakki Khaizan (centre) with (from left) Izwan Mahbud, Aleksandar Duric, Daniel Bennett and other players taking the lap of honour after beating Thailand 3-2 on aggregate in the final to win the 2012 Suzuki Cup. It was the fourth Asean Football Fed
Baihakki Khaizan (centre) with (from left) Izwan Mahbud, Aleksandar Duric, Daniel Bennett and other players taking the lap of honour after beating Thailand 3-2 on aggregate in the final to win the 2012 Suzuki Cup. It was the fourth Asean Football Federation title for Singapore.PHOTO: TNP FILE
35-year-old defender Baihakki Khaizan is one of just four Lions to win three international titles.
35-year-old defender Baihakki Khaizan is one of just four Lions to win three international titles.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - Most of his National Football Academy Under-17 team-mates were promoted to form the first batch of Young Lions in 2003, but Baihakki Khaizan was left out because he had not played much of the previous year due to a fractured metatarsal.

The lanky teenager was so disappointed that he wanted to give up his football dreams then. But thanks to the timely intervention of two coaches, he went on and eventually played 134 times for the national team, the third most for a Lion, behind Daniel Bennett (142 caps) and Shahril Ishak (138 caps).

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