S'pore hero against Syria is team's only Chinese

S'pore hero against Syria is team's only Chinese

He gets encouraging messages from Chinese fans, both young and old, on social media.

Also, Gabriel Quak’s father reminds his son to be a sterling example for all, given his unique position in local football.

And the 22-year-old LionsXII winger is well aware of his added responsibility towards Singapore football.

His stock has risen of late after scoring two international goals in three games, the latest coming in Singapore’s 2-1 win over Syria in an Asian Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

Quak said: “There is definitely additional pressure to do well as the only Chinese player in the squad.

“We’ve got to be honest, football is a sport that’s dominated by Malays here, but I’ve also seen many good Chinese players who can play well, too.”

Quak, who won the Malaysian Super League with the LionsXII this season, is one of the few local-born Chinese professional football players in Singapore, and the only one in Bernd Stange’s current national squad.

MAINSTAYS

By contrast, national teams in the past used to boast mainstays such as Quah Kim Song, Leong Kok Fann, David Lee, and Lim Tong Hai. Quak points to the culture among Chinese parents, who prefer their children to focus on studies instead of sports, a battle he had first-hand experience in.

Said the Arsenal fan: “Football has been my passion from a very young age and since my parents couldn’t stop me, they became my number one fans instead.

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