Ex-Pahang captain Zesh Rehman joins Southern District in Hong Kong
Former Pahang captain Zesh Rehman has ended speculation about his future by signing with Hong Kong club Southern District FC.
The English-born Pakistani international, who played for Fulham in the Premier League at the start of his career, had been linked to a return to Malaysia with either Felda United or Terengganu before committing his future to Southern District.
But instead of going back to Malaysia, he chose Hong Kong where he'd played previously for Kitchee in 2012-13.
"Delighted to have signed for Southern District FC in Hong Kong... an ambitious, progressive & competitive club with a great family atmosphere," Rehman wrote on his social media accounts on Thursday.
Delighted to have signed for @kc_southern_fc District FC in Hong Kong. An Ambitious, progressive & competitive club with a great family atmosphere. After weighing up several offers in England & other parts of the world a return to the Far East was far too good to refuse for me and my family. Looking forward to working again with Head Coach, Cheng Siu Chung who is an excellent man manger, very passionate & extreemly knowledgable about football. Hopefully my experience can help the club develop further and pick up some silverware along the way. Looking forward to flying back to East Asia to get pre-season underway. ���� ����⚽
"After weighing up several offers in England & other parts of the world, a return to the Far East was far too good to refuse for me and my family."
Rehman was a free agent after a stint with English League One side Gillingham finished at the end of April. He'd signed a short-term contract at the end of February, playing in 10 games and scoring a goal.
More than half a dozen clubs outside of England sent out feelers to the 33-year-old, who has an impressive track record on Asian soil. Rehman is fondly remembered at Pahang after three seasons with the Kuantan-based side.
He won a treble of trophies in 2014 -- the Charity Shield, FA Cup, and Malaysia Cup -- and helped Pahang challenge Johor Darul Ta'zim in the Malaysia Super League (MSL).
Only in 2016 when many of Pahang's top imports had left the side, did Rehman and the Elephants struggle.
The well-travelled Rehman began his Asian adventure near Bangkok with Muang Thong United, who are filled with decorated Thailand internationals.
Southern District, or Southern as they commonly known, finished third in the 2016-17 Hong Kong Premier League, under Cheng Siu Chung.
Rehman told ESPN FC that Cheng was a big reason for him choosing Hong Kong over Malaysia.
"The over-riding factor was the coach Ricky who was my assistant coach at Kitchee. I love the way he works, his personality and how he has transformed Southern these past few seasons," he said.
"I had initial conversations with both Hong Kong and Malaysia, but chose Hong Kong because it would difficult to play for anyone in the MSL other than Pahang because of my love for the club."
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