Football: Singapore's top goalkeeper Hassan Sunny set for Thai League return

Hassan Sunny enjoyed his two years with Army United in Thailand's top-tier league and, at 33, is looking for what could be a final overseas stint in his career.
Hassan Sunny enjoyed his two years with Army United in Thailand's top-tier league and, at 33, is looking for what could be a final overseas stint in his career.ST FILE PHOTO

Singapore No. 1 may join giants Muang Thong or former side Army in second tier

The S-League could lose one of its top performers next season, as Singapore international goalkeeper Hassan Sunny has set his sights on a return to Thailand.

The 33-year-old, who played for Home United this year, has offers from two clubs in the kingdom and wants to play a higher standard of football in front of big crowds.

"There have been two concrete offers," Hassan told The Straits Times. "One is from a T1 (top-tier Thai League 1) and the other is from a T2 (second-tier Thai League 2) club.

"It will be easier to settle down in Thailand as I had played there before (with Army United from 2015-2016). Nothing is signed yet but, most likely, I'll be playing in Thailand next year."

Although Hassan did not name the clubs, it is believed that the T2 side are his former team Army United, who finished ninth in the 18-team competition this year.

The Lions' first-choice goalkeeper, who has 72 caps, is also believed to be wanted by T1 club Muang Thong United, who finished second in the top tier this season.

Muang Thong's current No. 1 is Thai international Kawin Thamsatchanan. But the 27-year-old could soon leave for Japan's J-League, having caught the attention of Vegalta Sendai, Shimizu S-Pulse and Consadole Sapporo.

Hassan had a fruitful spell with Army United, as his sharp reflexes and fingertip saves made him a firm favourite with the fans. He was released at the end of last year as the club faced financial problems after relegation from T1.

A year away from Thai football has made the 2014 S-League Player of the Year hungrier for more of the fast-paced and quick-passing game there.

Hassan said: "There is a huge difference between the two countries, in terms of football.

"The league there is very professional. It has everything that a professional player wants. The crowds are good, the standard of football is good, the money is good and the facilities are good."

In Singapore's last two international games, which resulted in losses to Lebanon (0-1) and Bahrain (0-3), Hassan was singled out for praise by opposing coaches.

Lebanon's Miodrag Radulovic said: "We missed a lot of chances because of a very good goalkeeper (Hassan)."

Bahrain's Miroslav Soukup added: "Singapore has a very strong goalkeeper. In my opinion, he is one of the best goalkeepers in Asia."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2017, with the headline 'Hassan in Thai return?'. Print Edition | Subscribe