News Singapore Premier League • January 13, 2021
Ridhuan Muhammad comes out of retirement to join Tanjong Pagar
Ridhuan in action for Warriors FC in 2017
SINGAPORE, 13 JANUARY 2021 – Tanjong Pagar United continue to make waves ahead of the 2021 Singapore Premier League (SPL) season as they confirmed earlier today that Ridhuan Muhammad will don their colours.
The former Singapore international, 36, has come out of retirement to play in what will be his 12th SPL campaign and becomes the Jaguars’ seventh new arrival after Blake Ricciuto, Reo Nishiguchi, Khairul Amri, Shahib Masnawi, Shahrin Saberin and Emmeric Ong.
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Ridhuan had retired in 2018 after a short spell in Indonesia with Borneo FC Samarinda but Tanjong Pagar head coach Hasrin Jailani believes the attacker still has something to offer. “We need senior players like Ridhuan for stability and to guide the younger ones,” he said. “He is still a quality player, the winning mentality is still there and he is pushing hard to regain his match fitness. When he stopped playing two years ago, he went away quietly. But he had always wanted to finish his career with a bang.”
Ridhuan, who was working as a facilities manager, during his time out from football, told The Straits Times: “I’ve missed it (football) so much and this is really a dream come true, to be able to say that I am going to be playing pro football again. I have always felt that I did not quite leave on my own terms… I never thought I would get the opportunity again and to be honest, I did not see it coming. But now that I have signed with the club, I want to do all I can to have a great season with Tanjong Pagar and help the young players in the team with my experience.”
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Ridhuan, who made his professional debut in 2003 with the Young Lions, came through the now-defunct National Football Academy (NFA) and was part of the “NFA Gang of Four” with Baihakki Khaizan, Shahril Ishak and Hassan Sunny – dubbed so as they were regarded as the brightest talents from the programme. The 19-year-old impressed enough to earn his international debut under Radojko Avramovic later in the year and developed into a winger revered for his searing pace and skill, primarily down the right.
Capped 68 times by the Lions, Ridhuan was part of the squad that won the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Championship in 2004 and played a major role in the 2007 triumph, scoring twice as Singapore retained the crown. At club level, he spent 2007 to 2009 with Tampines Rovers after leaving the Young Lions, before heading to Indonesia. There, he helped Arema win the 2009/10 title and established himself as a fan favourite, earning the nickname “R6”, in his first season. Ridhuan spent three and a half seasons at Arema and concluded his Indonesian stint with half a season on loan at Putra Samarinda.
A return to Singapore followed with Geylang International securing his services for the 2014 season, before he returned to Tampines in 2015 and then moved to Warriors FC for the 2016 and 2017 campaigns.
Now, Ridhuan will have the opportunity to add to his over 200 SPL appearances and 20 goals as Tanjong Pagar look to avoid a repeat of last year’s bottom-placed finish.