Eleven years ago, Baihakki Khaizan, a fresh-faced rookie, stood in the Jalan Besar Stadium tunnel shoulder to shoulder with Japan’s stars Hidetoshi Nakata, Junichi Inamoto and Shinji Ono.
Today, he is a grizzled veteran with 120 international caps, a Lion who has earned his mane. And with skipper Shahril Ishak unlikely to start and experienced striker Khairul Amri hamstrung, the 31-year-old is the elder statesman in Singapore’s starting line-up to face the Japanese on Thursday.
“You can make it to the national team but it’s about how long you can sustain it,” he said to The Straits Times yesterday.
“If these boys have what it takes to be here for the next 10 years, they will have to show it.
“Some can be called up today but will be gone tomorrow. You need an entire package – your talent, hard work, discipline and attitude.”
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