Lions in Thailand: Big bro Baihakki’s day out in Osaka; Hassan treats himself to Luke’s Lobster reward

Timothy Wee Timothy Wee

FOX Sports Asia brings you a weekly watch on what the stars of Singapore football Zulfahmi Arifin, Gabriel Quak, Hassan Sunny, Izwan Mahbud and Baihakki Khaizan are up to both on and off the pitch in Thailand.

Zulfahmi Arifin – Chonburi FC

Photos sourced from FFC FB & Zulfahmi & Quak IG

After putting in a hard shift in the recent friendly 2-1 win over Cambodia, Singapore international midfielder Zulfahmi Arifin has been retained for the Lions pre-Suzuki Cup training camp.

The versatile Chonburi FC no. 23, who also deputised at left-back in Phnom Penh, was behind the 60th-minute free-kick which led to Jacob Mahler‘s equaliser.

Hence, it is no surprise that 2012 Suzuki Cup winner Zulfahmi is included in Lion tamer Fandi Ahmad’s plans in Osaka, Japan. The Singapore probational squad is expected to take on three training matches against Japanese teams at their training base J-GREEN Sakai.

27-year-old Zulfahmi & co, who left for Osaka last Sunday, will be spending two weeks in the Land of the Rising Sun before returning on Friday, November 2 – a week before their Suzuki Cup opener against Indonesia on November 9. Coach Fandi will also be finalising his tournament squad list after the Lions’ training camp.

And things look good so far, with 2013 Malaysia Super League title winner Zulfahmi featuring in Singapore colleague Gabriel Quak’s Insta-story as they are seen chilling on their phones after a hard day’s of training alongside Safuwan Baharudin and Faritz Hameed. #thelionsdontsleeptonight

Gabriel Quak – Navy FC

Photos sourced from Quak IG

After scoring a peach of a goal against Mongolia for the victorious Lions, winger Gabriel Quak ended up on the winning side again at the Singapore training camp.

The Navy FC no. 22 came out tops at J-GREEN Sakai as Singapore coach Fandi put his charges through their paces in Osaka, Japan. Quak was spotted sharpening his prowess in front of goal with some shooting practice as he looks to add to his three-goal tally for his national side.

Despite working hard on the pitch, 27-year-old Quak still found the time and energy to call home and FaceTime his little one Gladys.

The 2015 Malaysia FA Cup winner, who enjoyed his first overseas playing stint this season with Navy FC, has previously spoke of the family sacrifices he had to make as he became the first Singaporean to score in the Thai League 1. Quak finished the season with four goals for Navy.

And with a recent switch to wearing no. 22 for the national team, the former LionsXII player is focused solely on the footballing side of things as he eyes Suzuki Cup glory under Fandi.

Hassan Sunny – Army United FC

Photos sourced from Hassan IG

Lions’ custodian Hassan Sunny successfully quelled Cambodia’s attackers the last time out and seems to have carried his shot-stopping momentum to their overseas training camp in Japan.

The Army United no. 18, who is presently in Osaka with the rest of the Singapore national squad, was among the highlights of the third day of training at J-GREEN Sakai as he stood tall between the posts – keeping out most of his compatriots’ shots during shooting practice.

Goalkeeper Hassan then went one better; scoring a sweetly-struck goal during a team-building exercise! So, we cannot fault the 34-year-old for taking it easy and indulging in a little R&R (rest & relaxation) after his commitment and dedication in training.

Two-time Suzuki Cup winner Hassan checked in at the famed Luke’s Lobster eatery for his lobster roll fix before saying hi to Osaka’s most iconic sight – the Glico running man billboard located in the tourist district of Dotonbori!

Izwan Mahbud – Nongbua Pitchaya FC

Photos sourced from FAS FB & Izwan IG

Following his recent clean sheet against Mongolia, Singapore national team coach Fandi Ahmad has seen fit to include Izwan Mahbud in his Suzuki Cup prep training camp.

The 28-year-old maintained his high level of concentration throughout the Mongolia victory; sparing Izzdin Shafiq’s blushes as early as the first minute when the midfielder’s backpass was pounced on by Maratkhan Janseric as well as being alert to collect a dangerous-looking cross while under pressured late in the second half.

The Nongbua Pitchaya no. 1, who was playing aboard for the very first time in his career, has been in fine form for the Thai League 2 club and was named by FourFourTwo in their 2018 Team of the Season!

After three straight days of training at J-GREEN Sakai, 2012 Suzuki Cup winner Izwan is finally enjoying some R&R in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The adidas fan hit up Osaka’s Dotonbori district with the former Tampines Rovers stopper making a beeline to the local adidas store to get his hands on their Japan-exclusive merchandise!

Baihakki Khaizan – Udon Thani FC

Photos sourced from Baihakki IG

Despite playing no on-field role in the friendly victories over Mongolia and Cambodia, Baihakki Khaizan still fulfills an important behind-the-scene role in the Singapore national team.

The veteran defender, who is regarded as one of the leaders/big brother figures in the Lions’ dressing room, has been called up by Lion tamer Fandi Ahmad for his two-week training camp.

Being a three-time Suzuki Cup winner, 34-year-old Baihakki knows exactly what is needed to lift the coveted trophy and will be hoping to pass on his valuable experience to his younger national teammates.

And it seems that the bromance between the former Udon Thani no. 5 and his younger colleagues (Gabriel Quak, Madhu Mohana and etc) is going strong as they hit up the Osakan sights together.


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