FORMER Aussie rising star Kaz Patafta is set to sign with a Malaysian club, which could put the former Benfica player in the frame for an A-League return next season.
It’s understood Patafta, 25, has been in Malaysia in recent days to finalise the deal with Kelantan FC.
The former Victory and Jets player will arrive in Malaysia for pre-season shortly ahead of the new campaign kicking off in January.
Should the move prove successful, it could trigger a move back to an A-League club next season.
Like fellow Canberran Tom Rogic, the midfielder was highly regarded as a teenager.
So much so that Guus Hiddink brought Patafta along to the 2006 World Cup with the Socceroos as a train on player.
In 2005, FIFA’s technical analysts raved about Patafta after the Youth Championships in Holland, assessing him as: ''Technically adept, [with a] good understanding and overview of play.'
The Canberran subsequently had an unsuccessful loan spell with Melbourne Victory under Ernie Merrick in 2007/08.
He then joined the Jets but disillusioned and playing nowhere near his potential, effectively retired from the game in 2011/12 aged just 23.
It was a shock move for many who saw Patafta as part of the future Socceroo midfield for years to come.
It’s thought Patafta relocated to the Gold Coast devoting time to his studies before moving back to his hometown Canberra.
In the ACT, he kick-started a junior academy with former Socceroo Andy Bernal and ex Adelaide United and Newcastle favourite Shaun Ontong.
But Patafta also reignited his passion for playing earlier this year in outings for Canberra FC – including one against a touring Malaysian national team.
And now a spell with the Malaysian club could be the springboard for a return to the A-League next season.