Quak, Faris eager to wing their way to regional honours

Geylang International midfielder Gabriel Quak (left) and Home United player Faris Ramli.
Geylang International midfielder Gabriel Quak (left) and Home United player Faris Ramli. PHOTOS: THE NEW PAPER, ST FILE

Gabriel Quak and Faris Ramli won the Malaysia FA Cup and the Malaysian Super League (MSL) while they were playing for the LionsXII.

They won the bronze medal at the 2013 SEA Games with the Singapore Under-23 team too.

While they were once billed as promising youngsters, the wingers are now in their mid-20s and they are keen to realise their potential with the national team under caretaker coach V. Sundramoorthy.

The duo, with 40 caps between them, are expected to start for the Lions in the Causeway Challenge against Malaysia at the National Stadium tonight.

And they are hungry to taste success at the regional level at the Nov 19-Dec 17 Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup.

Quak said: "The closest I got was a bronze at SEA Games level. At the senior international level, I just felt that (a title) is something that has eluded me.

"Of course, now at 25, I can't be considered young. And the next few years are when you could (stake a claim to be in) the core of the team."


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    International caps between Gabriel Quak (above) and Faris Ramli.


    Goals scored by Faris Ramli (above) for LionsXII last season.

The Geylang International midfielder has scored three goals this season for his S-League club, while Faris has emerged as one of the brightest prospects in the Lions squad in recent years.

The 24-year-old, now with Home United, was the LionsXII's top scorer in the MSL with eight goals last season.

He also scored Singapore's winner against Myanmar at the AYA Bank Cup quadrangular in June in Sundram's first game in charge.

Quak said: "I feel that I've been playing decently well at the club level, but it's (playing well for)the country that really matters. It's when more people will notice and you want to showcase what you're capable of.

"International games are tougher and the intensity is greater. You train hard and you hope that it translates into the game."

Faris, 24, said: "International success is difficult to achieve. But (today's) match is a platform for all of us, including myself, to showcase (our best football) and to tell everyone that we are ready for the upcoming Suzuki Cup."

Both players are ready to show that they have matured and can command first-team places.

At the 2014 AFF Cup, where Singapore crashed out in the group stage, Quak came on as a substitute for one group match while Faris started in all three matches.

Faris said: "After a bad Suzuki Cup, I think we want to make up for it."

Even though he has yet to establish himself as a regular starter for the Lions, Quak feels that his time with the LionsXII, playing in front of hostile crowds against Malaysian states, has stood him in good stead.

He said: "When you play for the LionsXII in a foreign league, it's a kind of 'semi-international' game. And that helps you to play against teams with different styles as compared to the S-League, when you're like playing against your friends.

"So I would say that it contributes a bit towards the international experience."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2016, with the headline 'Quak, Faris eager to wing their way to regional honours'. Print Edition | Subscribe