Tampines Rovers have added experience to their ranks by signing Baihakki Khaizan for the remainder of the 2020 AIA Singapore Premier League (SPL) season.
The Stags announced the defender’s transfer earlier today on their social media platforms. It marks a return to the SPL for Baihakki, who last played in the league for Warriors FC in the 2017 season.
The 36-year-old centre-back had returned to Singapore after choosing to mutually terminate his contract with Thai top flight side PT Prachuap in mid-April instead of facing a pay reduction and uncertainty over the rest of the season due to the coronavirus situation. He had joined from Trat FC at the start of the 2020 season.
According to The Straits Times, Baihakki will play for free for the rest of the 2020 campaign and aim to earn a salaried contract next season.
“Tampines have always been known for free-flowing football and are a club many local players want to join,” he told the newspaper. “I have never won the SPL, so with a good coach and a strong team, I’m looking forward to returning the favour and going for the title together with the boys.”
Tampines Head Coach, Gavin Lee, added: “Baihakki’s quality resonates with Tampines because he is comfortable on the ball and finds good solutions under pressure. He is capable of managing the backline and will be a leading voice on the pitch.”
Tampines will be the fourth SPL club that Baihakki, who has amassed close to 200 local league appearances, will turn out for.
The lanky defender started his professional career with Geylang United (now Geylang International) in 2003 and went on to play for the Young Lions, before enjoying spells in Indonesia (Persija Jakarta, Persib Bandung, Medan Chiefs) and Malaysia (Johor Darul Ta’zim and Johor Darul Ta’zim II).
He also played for the LionsXII in 2012 and 2013, winning the Malaysia Super League in the latter season.
On loan to second-tier outfit Udon Thani from Muangthong United in 2018, Baihakki became the first-ever Singaporean to score in the Thai league.
A move to Trat in the Thai League 1 was sealed for 2019 and he helped the club finish 10th out of 16 teams in their maiden top flight season.
Baihakki, who is the third-most capped Lion ever with 137 appearances, will link up with record-holder Daniel Bennett (142) at Tampines. – http://spl.sg/