S’porean Footballer Who Earned 10k Monthly Left Thai Club to Play for Free for Tampines Rover Due to COVID-19 Outbreak


It’s always a dream to earn money doing something you love.

Playing video games as an esports pro, writing that novel you wanted or educating kids in school.

If you like your job, it won’t be a slog.

Singapore footballer Baihakki Khaizan, 36, certainly had that, earning S$10000 a month playing the sport for Thai League 1 (T1) PT Prachuap.

Image: AFF Suzuki Cup 2018

Everything changed, however, when COVID-19 struck.

Heading Home

According to The Straits Times, Baihakki had made the decision to leave the team in April.

You can’t really blame him, too.

The guy had to take a 50% pay cut and the virus outbreak has put the season on hold.

Baihakki accepted compensation from the club via mutual understanding and flew back to Singapore.

He did say that while he had other offers in Thailand, his family needed him at home even more.

The athlete thanked his wife for being extremely supportive of his career thus far but felt that he had also missed too much of his three children’s lives as they grew up.

“This year was always going to be my last year playing overseas, and it is a shame it has to be cut short this way.”

Normally, this is where the story ends: On a sad note.

But his career isn’t not over yet.

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Local Opportunities

Image: Meme Generator

Through mutual sponsors Mizuno and Ryudben Sports, Baihakki officially signed with Singapore Premier League (SPL) club Tampines Rovers on 14 June.

He will play for free if the season resumes and next term, he could be getting a salaried contract.


Still, it seems pretty wild that a former star who earned 5-digits a month would now play for free, doesn’t it?

Here’s Why He’s Doing It.

Baihakki has this to say regarding the situation:

“These are not easy decisions because I’m not a multi-millionaire, but people are getting retrenched and there are hiring freezes everywhere.”

He also cited their ‘free-flowing football’ as another reason and stated that it was a popular club for players to join.

Image: behance

“I have never won the SPL, so with a good coach and a strong team, I’m looking forward to returning the favour and going for the title together with the boys.”


Approval From The Team

Even the team’s chairman Desmond Ong felt that any long term financial plan is ‘irresponsible’ in the face of COVID-19 making things unstable.

He feels that Baihakki’s proposition would benefit the team while not potentially taking away someone else’s money.

“He brings to Tampines plenty of experience as a player and as a person. From a humble background, it is impressive how he has grown to become a Singapore international who has won three Asean titles and played in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.”

Ong also feels that the athlete could become a role model for younger players.

Team coach Gavin Lee also cites Baihakki’s quick thinking ability during games to be a good addition to their team and will be a great defender and voice.

We hope Baihakki will continue to do well in his career.


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