Southeast Asia Malaysia

Saddil Ramdani Set for Tembedau Switch

Indonesia national team winger Saddil Ramdani is set to become the latest Indonesian player to go abroad after Liga 1 Indonesia side Bhayangkara Solo FC and Liga Super Malaysia side Sabah FC agreed on the 22-year old’s transfer from the former to the latter.

With the registration deadline for new M-League players only one week away, Sabah have been on the lookout for a player to fill their ASEAN quota in the transfer market. And the Borneo-based club had their eyes set on Saddil, who had previous experience in the Liga Super with Pahang FA in 2019.

Sabah had initially approached Bhayangkara with the intention of acquiring the player for free once his contract runs out on February of this year. However, Bhayangkara wanted to let Saddil go in exchange for a sizable fee, something that Sabah was unwilling to shell out. In the end, the two sides reached a compromise and Sabah were set to acquire Saddil in a loan deal.

However, in a twist of events on Saturday, Bhayangkara manager I Nyoman Yogi Hermawan revealed to detikSport that Saddil will join Sabah permanently on a free once his contract with the Guardian expires.

“Yes, Saddil will join Sabah on a free transfer,” Yogi told detikSport.

An article published on Sunday by Kompas reveals the unique nature of Saddil’s transfer – Sabah will receive Saddil on loan from Bhayangkara before the end of his contract, allowing the Tembedau to register him to their squad. Once Saddil’s contract with Bhayangkara runs out at the end of February, Saddil’s contract with Sabah will turn permanent. It is the middle ground that the two sides had agreed upon after the brief deadlock between them regarding Saddil’s transfer.

However, Yogi told detikSport that he had no idea regarding the length of Saddil’s contract with Sabah, as he has yet to receive detailed information regarding the contract.

“We appreciate Saddil’s desire to play in Malaysia to further his career. Playing there will be a special kind of challenge for him. We wish him all the best and good luck for the future and we hope that his experiences there will make him a better player,” said Yogi.

Saddil is currently sorting out administrative paperwork that will allow him to leave Indonesia for Malaysia and once everything has been wrapped up, he will depart for Kota Kinabalu next week.

“God be willing, I will depart to Malaysia next week,” Saddil told detikSport, “I hope that I could do my best and give everything that I got for Sabah.”

Under the tutelage of Indonesia national team legend Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto, Sabah narrowly avoided relegation out of the Liga Super in 2020, finishing 10th in the 12-team league. Kurniawan was dismissed from his position once the 2020 season has concluded, however his replacement, Lucas Kalang Laeng, stepped down from his position after a leadership reshuffle at both the club and the Sabah Football Association. This meant that Kurniawan was subsequently reappointed as Sabah’s head coach by the club’s new chief executive officer for the upcoming 2021 season.

Prior to signing Saddil, Sabah had targeted Persib Bandung’s Febri Hariyadi and Arema FC’s Kushedya Hari Yudo as their ASEAN player, however Sabah were unable to fulfill the Maung Bandung‘s demands for Febri’s proposed loan deal, which requires the Tembedau to return Febri back to Persib once the 2021 Liga 1 season starts. Kushedya, on the other hand, was being pursued by fellow Liga Super side Sri Pahang FC, the recently rebranded incarnation of Saddil’s former club.

Saddil’s signing meant that Sabah are one step closer from completing their foreign player quota for the 2021 season. Having retained South Korean defender Park Tae-soo from the 2020 roster, Sabah are close to signing midfielder Levy Madinda, a teammate of Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the Gabon national team. The Tembedau are also being linked with Libera national team captain Sam Johnson, North Macedonian defender Risto Mitrevski, and surprisingly enough, former Johor Darul Ta’zim ace Jorge Pereyra Diaz of Argentina.

By joining Sabah, Saddil became the third Indonesian to move to a Malaysian side in 2021, after Ryuji Utomo was loaned out by Persija Jakarta to Liga Super newcomers Penang FC and Syahrian Abimanyu joining JDT. Unlike Ryuji and Saddil, Syahrian won’t be playing in the M-League for 2021, as JDT had loaned him out to A-League strugglers Newcastle Jets on Friday.