Hafiz Sujad joins Singapore exodus, signs with JDT II for 2018
Wide man Hafiz Sujad has become the eighth Singapore international to move abroad for the 2018 season after securing a one-year contract with Malaysia Premier League side Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) II.
Hafiz joins Hariss Harun (JDT), Safuwan Baharudin (Pahang FA), Madhu Mohana (Negeri Sembilan), Shahdan Sulaiman (Melaka United), Zulfahmi Arifin (Chonburi), Hassan Sunny (Army United), Izwan Mahbud (Nongbua Pitchaya) in overseas leagues.
Hafiz, 27, was on trial with Malaysia Super League (MSL) side Melaka United last month, but the club opted to sign compatriot Shahdan because they needed a central midfielder.
JDT II play in the second tier of Malaysian football and are coached by Mexican Benjamin Mora who was in charge of the top JDT side until being replaced by Portugal's Ulisses Morais midway through the 2017 season.
Hafiz is no stranger to Malaysia, having played for the LionsXII in the MSL from 2013 to 2015 and was part of Fandi Ahmad's 2015 Malaysia FA Cup winning side.
He scored a memorable equalising goal for the LionsXII in a 2-2 away draw against JDT II's parent club JDT at Larkin Stadium in the early part of the 2014 MSL season.
The utility man, who can play anywhere along the left channel, will be hoping for a more successful overseas stint than his last one. A move to Thai League 2 side Big Bang Chula United (BBCU) in 2017 ended in premature fashion when the club pulled out of the league less than midway through the season.
Hafiz played out the second half of last year with Tampines Rovers in the S.League, helping the Stags to secure second place and a spot in the 2018 AFC Champions League qualifiers.
Singapore centurions Shahril Ishak and Baihakki Khaizan were on the books of JDT II in the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Baihakki, meanwhile, is set to become the first Singaporean to play in the Middle East after being offered a four-month contract by Saudi second-tier club Jeddah Club, as reported by The Straits Times.
The giant defender, who was released by Warriors FC, impressed on a five-day trial last week which was arranged by his agent Ashikin Hashim and her contacts.
Baihakki has earned 130 international caps since 2003, but fell out-of-favour with coach V. Sundramoorthy after the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup.
Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT