KUALA LUMPUR: Shahrel Fikri Fauzi ended speculation over his future by renewing his contract with Perak SEDC in a move welcomed by coach Abu Bakar Fadzim.
The forward had been linked with a move to Super League and Malaysia Cup champions Johor Darul Ta'zim but PKNP announced on Saturday that Shahrel signed a one-year extension and will remain with the club until 2020.
Abu Bakar, who had been resigned to losing Shahrel after the club's promotion to the Super League, was glad with the player's change of heart.
"I too was surprised by his decision but with Shahrel staying on, it is a big boost for the club," said Abu Bakar of the player who scored 20 goals last season.
"Perhaps he felt that this was the best option for his career and in addition, he is already happy playing here."
Abu Bakar stressed on the importance of 23-year-old Shahrel, anointed as the best striker at the National Football Awards last month, to Perak SEDC.
"For two years, he has been a vital player for us in Perak SEDC rising from the FAM Cup to the Super League," said Abu Bakar of his team captain, whose contract was originally only due to expire in 2019.
"He has contributed so much in our development and I believe he can do great things for us in the new season."
Shahrel is currently recovering from a muscle tear he suffered while on national team duty last October but Abu Bakar expects the player to be ready by the time the season kicks off on Feb 3.
In the meantime, Abu Bakar will focus on filling two more foreign player slots as he continues his search for a striker and a centre-back.