Baihakki: It's been an incredible ride

The game has given him so much, but Baihakki Khaizan has also made a number of sacrifices over the years to get to where he is on today.

The central defender will earn his 100th international cap when he walks out onto the pitch with the rest of the Singapore team for their friendly against China in Tianjin on Friday.

Reflecting on the "incredible ride" he has had with the Lions thus far, the 29-year-old is happy that a "risky" career choice has paid off for him.

"It's all been worth it," said Bai, who is set to join a centurion club whose members include Fandi Ahmad, Samad Allapitchay, Malek Awab and Aide Iskandar.

"All that time away from my family during important occasions like Hari Raya, all the injuries suffered and the doubts over my future - this honour will mean that my sacrifices have all paid off.

"I never thought I would get this far, but I'm not stopping here. I'd like to serve and play for the national team for as long as I can.

"I'm turning 30 next year and will reach the peak of my career. But age is just a number.

"If I keep fit, hopefully there will be more beautiful things to come."

Bai, a key member of the LionsXII team that stormed to the Malaysian Super League title this year, made his national debut at 19 in a friendly match against Hong Kong in 2003.

As a teenager, he caught the eye of then Singapore coach, Radojko Avramovic.

With his 1.90-metre tall frame and composure, he was the right fit for the centre of defence.

He won the Young Player of the Year award in his debut season in the S-League with Geylang United in 2003, before moving to the Young Lions.

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