PKNP FC striker Shahrel Fikri will become the third Malaysian to play in the Thai League 1 this year after he joined Nakhon Ratchasima on loan, the club confirmed on Sunday.
Shahrel will join Curran Ferns, who is currently playing in the Thailand top division.
Ferns had signed for Sukhothai FC in early June after impressing for Felda United FC in the Premier League.
“For him to progress as a footballer, for his future, the country and PKNP, I am willing to let him go,” PKNP coach Abu Bakar Fadzim told Berita Harian.
“Shahrel’s big move will benefit Malaysian football and will set an example for young players to try their luck abroad.”
Bakar was willing to release his star striker in the midst of an FA Cup two-legged semifinal against Pahang FA, and also with the league approaching its tail end.
“This is a chance of a lifetime for him. I was with him from the start and we have experienced a lot together. I wish him all the best in this latest journey.” he added.
Shahrel’s big move comes on the back of his stellar performance for the club side this season, having scored nine goals in all competitions.
He had been a one man club before this, starting with PKNP from the third division FAM League in 2016 until they were promoted to the Malaysia Super League this year.
If all goes according to plan, Shahrel could be facing Ferns on his debut, as Sukhothai welcome the visit of Nakhon in the league on June 30.
Kiko Insa became the first Malaysian to play in the Thai league when he signed for Bangkok Glass in February.
But the former Pahang man only made four appearances before his contract got cancelled in April.
Insa has since since signed for Johor Darul Ta’zim.
Photo credit: PKNP Facebook