Tigers Look To NFL For Transfer Options

Saiful in training with Balestier Khalsa.

Aaron Chan
Writer / Editor
The Unofficial S.League Podcast

23 May 2017: The S.League mid-season transfer window has finally opened and it seems that Balestier Khalsa look likely to make the first transfer move by shoring up their attacking ranks with current NFL Division Two top scorer, Saiful Jamaludin.

The 28 year old, who plays for Kembangan United, was the club's top scorer in 2016 and he is currently blazing a trial this season, scoring five goals in just two matches. The striker can also operate as an attacking midfielder or winger and his versatility would lend the Tigers more bite on the frontline, something they lack at the moment with just four goals scored so far - the least number of goals scored by any team in the league. 

In a 90 minute training session conducted at Toa Payoh Stadium earlier today, our writer observed the Tigers undergo some passing and shooting drills before playing a practice match. Saiful stood out for his ability to make intelligent runs and he gave his marker, Myanmar international Kyaw Zayar Win, a run for his money with his fancy footwork and impressive work rate. In addition, Saiful's team-mate, defender Abdul Khair, was also spotted in the same training session.

NFL players making the step-up is nothing new as previous transfers of such similarity saw players like Shawal Anuar and Shunsuke Nakatake joining the S.League from NFL sides Keppel Monaco and Eunos Crescent respectively. Shawal was a late bloomer but managed to break into the Singapore national team at the age of 25, no mean feat for a player who played most of his football in the lower divisions prior to his transfer to Geylang International in 2014.

Kembangan United's young defender Abdul Khair is an exciting prospect to watch out for.

The Unofficial S.League Podcast understands that Balestier Khalsa are very keen on Saiful and Kembangan United Chairman Albert Ng was delighted in the Tigers' interest in his players. "These are good players. I will support their transfer moves to play in the S.League wholeheartedly if the door swings open for them. Balestier has got a team of good players and this is a chance for (the Kembangan players) to work their way into the team if the transfers go through."

However, the possible transfers may be a bittersweet thing for Kembangan as Saiful and Abdul are all key players in Head Coach D. Tokijan's squad, playing a major part in the Golden Horses' unbeaten record in the second division so far. Ng was candid about his plans should the players leave for Toa Payoh: "Definitely we will need to find players to replace the ones that leave. But it is not such a bad thing. That is one of our purposes, to unearth and develop players for the S.League and to contribute to the national pool."

The Golden Horses' tough tackling midfielder, Zul Elhan, is also reportedly on Balestier Khalsa's radar.

This is a developing story and more updates will be posted in this article as and when they become available. 

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