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'I was sold on Selangor's project within five minutes' - Inside Red Giants' capture of World Cup winner Buff (exclusive)

8:30 AM SGT 12/2/21
Oliver Buff, Switzerland U-17
Selangor have recently signed the Swiss midfielder who was once teammates with Arsenal's Granit Xhaka and Thailand international Charyl Chappuis.

New Selangor FC signing Oliver Buff arrived at an unfortunate time.

Having gone through the now customary 14-day Covid-19 quarantine after reaching Malaysia, he was then made to wait evven longer before he could join his new club's pre-season training.

Just one day before his quarantine was scheduled to end in early January, the Malaysian government announced another lockdown for most parts of the country, which meant that Malaysian league clubs' pre-season training for the 2021 season had to be halted.

Four weeks after landing at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the Swiss midfielder has not had the chance to train along side his new team-mates just yet.

"I came out of quarantine one day after the lockdown started again, so I haven't met everybody face-to-face. There's not a lot I've been able to experience in the country so far due to the lockdown, but I like it and enjoy being at the club," Buff told Goal.

"Getting my affairs sorted out such as a new apartment and submitting bank documents was also a challenge. Thankfully, I've used the four weeks to finish it and can now focus on training when it can take place again."

Despite the difficulties he's been facing playing professional football during a worldwide pandemic, the 28-year old remains excited about the next chapter in his career. 

"When I received the offer from Selangor, I learnt that they are a big club with big ambitions," recalled the former Real Zaragoza player.

"They want to win the championship in the next coming years. It was clear to me that I had to take the step. I spoke to the head coach (Karsten Neitzel) about the project and the targets for the next two or three years, and he sold me on it within five minutes.

"Of course that can only happen if things are done 100 per cent professionally at the club, by winning matches on the pitch."

Buff also revealed that his decision to continue his professional career in Southeast Asia was also helped by the encouragement of a long-time friend who has succeeded in the region.

The midfielder was a regular international for Switzerland at the junior levels, and even won the U-17 World Cup in 2009 alongside now Arsenal FC man Granit Xhaka and Thailand international Charyl Chappuis. 

"I had a lot of fun playing with them. We were together in the national team set-up from U-15 to U-19. We were a very, very good team with a lot of exceptional players. If you win the World Cup with a team like Switzerland, it is something very special," he explained.

"It was a brilliant time and they (Xhaka and Chappuis) are very good guys. They were very easy-going, humble and did not think they were special or anything like that.

"Charyl congratulated me when I got here. He even gave me tips on the sport and the people in the region. I'm very thankful that I have someone I can get Asian football advice from!" 

Fortunately, the light has appeared at the end of the tunnel and Buff's wait is over as it has been announced that Malaysian league teams will be able to resume team training beginning on February 15.

"I'm very happy to hear the news because I've been training alone every single day all this while. On top of this, I will also get to see the team. I can't wait to start in a few days' time."