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S’pore’s Song Ui-young leaves Lion City Sailors for Thai club

After spending over a decade at Home United and then the Lion City Sailors when it was privatised, Singapore midfielder Song Ui-young is moving out of his “comfort zone” to pursue new challenges with Thai League 1 side Nongbua Pitchaya.

Nongbua, previously employers of former Sailors centre-back Jorge Fellipe and current Sailors custodian Izwan Mahbud, are languishing in the relegation zone of Thailand’s top flight. They have only 10 points from 15 league matches and are 15th out of 16 teams.

Song, who has been with the Sailors since 2011 when they were known as Home United, said in an interview with the club’s website that he wants to go abroad and become a better player.

“I cannot just continue being relaxed and being comfortable at where I am right now if I want to develop further. I need to find a new platform to improve, develop and continue to show good performances as a football player,” said the 29-year-old.

Winning the Singapore Premier League (SPL) title in 2021 was his favourite memory from his 11 seasons with the club.

He added: “A Singapore team had not won the SPL title for seven years at that time and I had also never won a domestic league title before that. It was an amazing feeling to finally get our hands on the trophy.”

Born in Incheon, South Korea, Song took three attempts before securing Singapore permanent residency in 2020 and became a citizen a year later.

Since making his national team debut in November 2021, he has scored three goals in 16 games for his adopted country.

Song’s most prolific season was in 2018, when he scored 20 goals across all competitions to help Home become Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Asean zonal champions. He leaves the Sailors as their all-time top goalscorer with 32 goals (since 2020).

Having made 220 appearances for the Sailors including 168 in the SPL, Song’s time with them may not be over yet.

He added: “One day, I hope I’ll be back to play for them and the club again.”

Other current Lions plying their trade in Thailand are the Fandi brothers Irfan and Ikhsan with top-tier team BG Pathum United, and Ryhan Stewart with Chiangmai FC in Thai League 2.

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