Gabriel wants to help the Sailors to build a dynasty in Singapore football.
He has finally gotten a taste of winning the Singapore domestic league title for the first time in 14 years.
But, barely hours after the euphoria of lifting the golden Singapore Premier League trophy at Jalan Besar Stadium, Lion City Sailors’ Gabriel Quak is already looking forward to more. He’s also hoping to help the Bishan-based club to establish a legacy the way Japanese club Albirex Niigata (S) have done so in the last few years.
“This is the start of something special. Albirex are a very good club and have laid foundations to succeed over the last few years. Hopefully, we can do the same at Bishan,” Gabriel told Youthopia.
“When we look across the causeway, we see JDT (Johor Darul Ta’zim) and how with a leader who believes in growing a club on and off the pitch, the team responds. I think we have a good owner who has faith in us and is not only investing in the first team but also infrastructure and people. The women’s team, the youth developmental pathway are all part of the big picture.”
Gabriel has once again played an instrumental role in the Sailors’ fortunes this season. The Player of the Year in 2020 scored 13 times, including a crucial brace against Balestier Khalsa on Sunday that helped the LCS to clinch the title. He also has four assists.
While he hasn’t been named as a player of the year nominee – teammates Stipe Plazibat and Jorge Felipe along with Hougang United’s Tomoyuki Doi have gotten the nod instead – winning SPL title matters more to Gabriel, who has previously won the Malaysian Super League title and Malaysian FA Cup with LionsXII.
“Last year we wanted to get it done but we fell short. With that experience, we wanted to finish the job this year and I think the added motivation of breaking the dominance of Albirex and becoming the first local club to win it after so long, made this victory even sweeter,” said Gabriel.
“I remember when I was negotiating with clubs in 2018 and signed for the Warriors for the 2019 season, I spoke to some close friends and shared with them my ambition to one day become SPL player of the season and to join a local club and win the Singapore Premier League title.
“I managed to win Player of the Year last season but didn’t have any team silverware so this year, I wanted it badly. At least one piece of trophy, for the club’s faith in me, especially Forrest Li (LCS owner). “
Gabriel’s immediate aim will be to help the Singapore men’s national football team achieve something at the AFF Suzuki Cup. He has been named in the provisional squad, and barring unforeseen circumstances, will be named in the final squad.
But he has also set his sights on the Asian Champions League (ACL) next year.
“I’m going to take some time off, enjoy the next few days and then focus on the AFF Suzuki Cup with Singapore and see what the future holds for me at club level.
“Next year, the Sailors will play in the ACL and this will be a career milestone for me. To test myself against the best in Asia will be an amazing experience and we have coach Kim (Do-hoon) who won the competition in 2020, so we must seize the advantage and benefit from his knowledge of the tournament.”
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