Football: Veteran defender Baihakki dropped from national squad

SINGAPORE - Veteran defender Baihakki Khaizan has been dropped from the national football squad for the upcoming Asian Cup qualifiers.

The 33-year-old was told that he would not be part of the team who will be competing at the Asian Cup qualifiers, where Singapore will play their opener against Bahrain on March 28.

National caretaker coach V. Sundramoorthy said in a statement: "Baihakki is a long time servant of the national team. We appreciate his commitment to the national team, and respect what he has achieved with the Lions.

"However, he is not part of my plans for the Asian Cup qualifiers, and I thought it was important to meet him, and told him this myself.

"I thank Baihakki for what he's given to the team, and I look forward to preparing the team for the qualifiers."

With 129 caps, Baihakki is one of the most experienced players in the national team. He won the Asean Football Federation Cup three times, in 2004, 2007 and 2012. In 2013, whilst playing under Sundram, he helped the LionsXII win the Malaysian Super League title.

Last November, however, at the biennial competition's last edition in the Philippines, Baihakki made just one appearance as a substitute during the ill-fated campaign, where Singapore crashed out in the group stages with one draw and two defeats.