'Baihakki Khaizan will join Kuala Lumpur for 2018 MSL' - coach

Veteran Singapore defender Baihakki Khaizan will play with newly promoted Malaysia Super League (MSL) side Kuala Lumpur FA in the 2018 season, according to their coach Fabio Magrao.

ESPN FC understands that the 34-year-old travelled to Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday to finalise the deal.

With that, Baihakki has turned down the chance to become the first Singaporean to play in Saudi Arabia after being offered a four-month contract by second-tier outfit Jeddah Club.

"I'm very happy that Baihakki has agreed to join us for the 2018 season," Magrao told ESPN FC.

"Being a defender, you must be able to defend well, but he also has good technique which fits in well with our team. I like to build up from the back so I look for the technical quality of the players, even in defence.

"His experience will help us a lot because he knows what it is like to be playing a high level. We still have a few younger players here and am sure in a few months, many of them will reach the [Malaysia] national team."

Baihakki is no stranger to playing in Malaysia, having played in the MSL with LionsXII and Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT), as well in the second-tier Premier League with JDT II.

He returned to Singapore to suit up for Warriors FC in 2017 after spending eight years away from the S.League.

The 129-capped defender will lock horns with compatriots Hariss Harun (JDT), Safuwan Baharudin (Pahang), Faris Ramli (PKNS), Shahdan Sulaiman (Melaka) and Madhu Mohana (Negeri Sembilan) in the 2018 MSL season.

His move to Kuala Lumpur takes the current number of Singaporeans abroad to 13, including former internationals Ridhuan Muhammad and Precious Emuejeraye. Ridhuan is with Borneo FC Samarinda in Indonesia while Precious is with Churchill Brothers in India's I-League.

Baihakki is likely to pair up with Uzbekistan import Bobur Akbarov in defence as the 2017 Premier League champions look to excel in their first season back in the top flight since 2012.