By Shaun Fuentes
Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland has signed a five-year contract with Belgium Pro League champions Racing Genk.
The former San Juan Jabloteh midfielder put pen to paper on Tuesday and could be in action as early as this Saturday against his former club SV Zulte Waregem.
The 22-year-old Carenage-born player has made 27 appearances for the T&T Senior Team and also represented the country at the 2009 FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Egypt.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to play for a bigger club and to have the opportunity to play in the European Champions League. That’s every player’s dream once you make it on a European club. I feel privileged to have signed a five-year deal,” Hyland said on Tuesday after his first session with Genk.
“But I have to say a special thanks to management, coaching staff, teammates and fans of Waregem for welcoming me into their club when I first signed to play in Belgium and for the opportunity they presented to me.”
Hyland made 72 appearances for Waregem and now he hopes to stake his claim in Genk colours.
“The opportunity to play in the Champions League playoffs is something I’m really looking forward to. I hope I can have a positive impact on the team’s performance and help the club progress into the Champions League. There is a massive following here for the club and I’m really looking forward to being part of everything at Genk,” Hyland added.
He is also looking ahead to T&T’s 2014 World Cup campaign.
“There’s a lot of work to be done and the road is tough for us but I think once we prepare properly and put all the best resources together, there is no reason why we can’t make it through to the 2014 World Cup. There’s a lot to look forward to and I’m hoping to be part of the set up,” Hyland added.
Genk have won 3 Belgian champion titles in 1998–99, 2001–02 and in 2010–11. They’ve also captured three 3 Belgian Cups, most recently in 2008–09. They are one of the 5 Belgian clubs to advanced to the UEFA Champions’ League group stage, with Lierse, Anderlecht, Club Brugge and Standard Liège. They made it through in the 2002–03 season, finishing fourth in their group with 4 points