Singapore midfielder Safuwan Baharudin’s goal for Pahang FA last weekend meant that he has scored against 20 different clubs in Malaysia.
The 26-year-old scored in Pahang’s 4-0 victory over Kuala Lumpur FA in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) on May 25 to seal the milestone that no other player of his generation has achieved.
Since making his debut in Malaysian domestic competitions as part of the now defunct LionsXII project in 2012, Safuwan went on to play in both the Malaysia Super League (MSL) and Premier League for PDRM and Pahang FA along with a stint to become the first-ever Singaporean to play in the A-League with Melbourne City.
His record makes for impressive viewing with 30 goals scored over seven seasons – 10 in the Premier League and 20 in the Super League.
“I wasn’t even aware of it before this interview,” Safuwan told FOX Sports Asia. “Definitely it is a really wonderful achievement to have scored against 20 different teams.
“It is already hard to score one goal and come to think of it, the Super League has about 12 teams and the Premier League has about seven or eight teams and I have played and scored in both leagues. So I’m really happy to have hit this tally in my career.”
While he is regarded as one of Singapore’s top footballers of his generation, Safuwan named Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) midfielder Hariss Harun as the person he looks up to and inspires to be, along with Huddersfield’s Socceroo star Aaron Mooy.
Safuwan said: “I have always looked up to Hariss and the moment he stepped up from LionsXII and the career that he has carved out at Johor is terrific. For an import player to have achieved and won so much things over there, he has been my inspiration and role model both on and off the pitch.
“Another man I have a lot of respect for is Aaron (Mooy) at Melbourne City. Very cool guy off the pitch and on it, he is a creative force who always wants the ball and demands more.
“Lastly, I would say Hassan (Sunny) because he is just top notch when it comes to taking care of his body. Even when he was injured, he always had the discipline to come back as soon as possible and his attitude is to give everything and perform in every single game for club and country. So there you have it, my top three players.”
Having settled in well at Pahang under Dollah Salleh, the Singapore international has won over the demanding Tok Gajah supporters and was rewarded with a renewed contact a few weeks ago that will see him stay with the club till 2020.
With so many star players across the MSL, Safuwan surprisingly mentioned two players from Kedah FA who are in his words “the best players in Malaysia at the moment”.
“My toughest opponents are Liridon (Krasniqi) and Sandro (Mendonca). Toughest team is Kedah because they have been very consistent over the years and it is always hard to cope against them,” he added.
“They are a quality side and these individuals I mentioned are technically good and tactically sound. Best part is they both click well together so for me, they are the best players in the league now.”
Since making his debut as a professional in 2009 for the Young Lions in the Singapore Premier League, Safuwan is known to have a huge collection of framed jerseys hanging proud in his home in Singapore but the midfielder struggled to name his favourite kit. When pressed further, he eventually caved in and revealed it.
“Every jersey I have won is a favourite because they have different values in my career and there is a lot of history and memories with all of them,” Safuwan remarked.
“If I really had to pick one, it has to be the LionsXII jersey (from 2013), we were FA Cup champions and Super League champions. LionsXII was the stepping stone for me and it took me to where I am today so that has to be the one.”
20 Malaysian clubs that Safuwan has scored against
ATM FA, JDT, JDT II, Kedah FA, Kelantan FA, Kuala Lumpur FA, Kuantan FA, Negeri Sembilan FA, Pahang FA, PDRM, Perak FA, PKNP FC, PKNS FC, Sabah FA, Sarawak FA, Selangor FA, Sime Darby FC, Terengganu FA, T-Team FC, UiTM FC