SINGAPORE - He has wiped away the tears and made it onto the plane to Naypyidaw.
But Gabriel Quak may still not get to pull on the Singapore shirt for Aide Iskandar's South-east Asia (SEA) Games team, if he does not fully recover from his hamstring injury.
Quak, 22, suffered a micro tear in a friendly between the Singapore Under-23s and Hougang United on Nov 19 and the injury threw his participation at the upcoming Myanmar SEA Games into jeopardy.
The U-23s leave for Myanmar tomorrow and, speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Quak said: "I'm really grateful and humbled by the faith Aide has placed in me to give me every chance of recovering before the SEA Games.
"I don't want to think about being sent back just a day before the first match against Laos. I'm feeling very positive and motivated."
The U-23s, who open their campaign in a Group A clash against Laos this Sunday, are in an unusual situation: Aide will travel to Myanmar with 22 players - 20 will be on the plane today, with Madhu Mohana and Faris Ramli flying up later in the week pending approval from their respective National Service units. Two will be cut to form the final 20-man squad and the duo dropped will return home one day before the Laos game.