Singapore winger Gabriel Quak has Antonio Johnson Elite Jersey hailed the influence of Singapore legend Kadir Yahaya as the man who set him on the right path to becoming a professional footballer.
The LionsXII midfielder has had a meteoric rise in the past two years since completing his national service. In his first full season, he won the Malaysian Super League (MSL) title and was part of the national squad for the recently concluded AFF Suzuki Cup.
He said: "I was actually part of the 2012 LionsXII squad but due to national service, I ended up watching most of the games from home or in camp. I felt helpless and was dying to get onto the pitch so being involved last season was like a dream come true for me."
Being touted as a star of the future for Singapore since his days with the National Football Academy (NFA), Quak was initially involved in athletics at secondary school. He explained how he was scouted by former Malaysia Cup hero Kadir, who brought him into the NFA setup.I was playing for my school team and they used to play me above my age group. When I was 12, I was playing with the Under-13s and 14s. And when my school team coach informed Kadir about me, he came down and watched me play and that was the start of everything.
"Joining the NFA wasn't easy. From school team training which is once or twice a week, this became a daily routine and I had to prove myself among a group of very good players consisting of Hariss (Harun), Afiq (Yunos) and Izwan (Mahbud). Every training session was like a trial. You either bring it or you don't." http://www.jaguarsofficialauthentic.com/JAGUARS-SENDERRICK-MARKS-JERSEY Despite gaining a coveted place in the NFA setup, Quak's parents wanted him to pursue a more conventional career path.
"My parents were initially against it, they wanted me to focus on my studies and didn't see football as a possible career. But coach Kadir didn't give up on me. He took time out to sit my parents down and explain to them that I had the talent and that they should support me. And slowly but surely, they agreed, with Kadir constantly updating them about my progress.
"I even remember there was this one time when I had a huge argument with my parents and I ran away from home. Within a matter of hours, my phone rang and it was coach Kadir on the other end of the line. He asked me to head back home immediately and when I got to my block, he was there waiting for me. That was when I realise my parents trusted him and he is one man I have huge respect for. Who knows what trouble I may have gotten myself into if not for coach?"
With his focus firmly set on the season ahead, the fleet-footed winger knows that he must become a more consistent performer if he wants to be a regular starter for Fandi Ahmad's team and also the Lions.Last season was poor in many ways. We tried to deliver but perhaps the stress of being defending champions and also the loss of key players like Shahril (Ishak) and Haris affected us. But these are not excuses. We as players also failed to show up so we must put our hands up and work towards repaying the fans' faith in the next season.
"As for myself, I know where my problem lies. Consistency. That is one area where I constantly struggle with and I hope to get a decent run of games to show what I can do and prove to coaches that I deserve a regular spot in the team. We are already back in training and having not played much during the Suzuki Cup campaign, I'm raring to go. I feel that I'm ready and I don't need a break at this moment. I just want the season to start and for us to make things work." http://www.officialauthenticbuccaneersstore.com/DEMAR-DOTSON-JERSEY-CHEAP.html Going into his third full season as a professional, Quak knows that the average lifespan of a footballing career is short. While he is determined to make it work on the pitch, he has also set aside time off it to get himself ready for life after his sport of choice.