BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
Singapore international, Baihakki Khaizan has rejoined LionsXII after being dropped from the Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) team last month. Baihakki joined JDT this season and started all but one of the 10 Super League matches for JDT during his time there. Aidil Zafuan started out as his partner in defence before a switch to Fadhli Shas after the initial partnership didn’t work out as well as expected.
When speaking about the cancellation of Baihakki’s contract last month, the President of the Johor Football Association, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (TMJ) said that Baihakki is a good defender but not JDT needed someone with more international experience to compete against foreign strikers.
In an interview with Axcross The Line, Baihakki iterated that he held no grudges in the manner of his removal from JDT.
“Being removed from the set up is part and parcel of football; there are no hard feelings whatsoever. In fact, (Tunku Ismail) has been very kind and understanding of the situation I am in. The move to terminate my contract was based on mutual understanding, and joining the LionsXII will allow me to work towards winning a place in the year-end AFF Suzuki Cup with the Singapore national team.”
Baihakki signed on the dotted line to re-joined LionsXII on a 7-month deal but has a clause in the contract which stipulates that he cannot play against JDT in any competition for the entire 2014 year. A situation which puts him out of contention for the match between the two teams on 20th of May 2014.
Even though his contract with JDT was terminated, it seems that the plan to have Baihakki joining JDT II side, is still on the cards. With JDT II being in the second tier of Malaysian football, Baihakki is expected to take a massive pay cut to enable him to join the team. Of which, the centre back is adamant that money is not the main priority with him.
“Yes it’s a massive pay cut. But at this stage of my career, I feel that there are more important things than just money. If I don’t play regularly in the build-up to the main tournament (Suzuki Cup 2014) come end of the year, I could lose out even more in football terms – and maybe in other terms as well, in the future.