Gabriel Quak named Player of the Year at FAS Awards Night
In 2008, a teenage Gabriel Quak watched from the back of a hotel ballroom as Aleksandar Duric and Khairul Amri picked up the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards respectively at the Football Association of Singapore Awards Night.
Then a Young Lions player, the 17-year-old dreamt of standing on that same stage one day.
Quak's goal was fulfilled last night when the Lion City Sailors forward was crowned Player of the Year at The Gym at Jalan Besar. He was rewarded for a consistent season where he bagged five goals and eight assists in 14 games.
He told The Straits Times: "It's been a long journey full of ups and downs. I was in the spotlight early on in my career because I was a minority...
"There were times when I wondered if I was cut out for this, and I'm thankful for my family, coaches and teammates for helping me to persevere and grow stronger as a person."
While undeniably talented and fleet-footed, Quak did not always get as much playing time as he would have liked.
But, after playing for the Young Lions, LionsXII and Geylang International, a stint with Thai League 1 side Navy in 2018 expanded his horizons and helped him to be more focused.
"I reflected on what I wanted to achieve, and I told myself I wanted to stamp my authority and leave a mark in these last six to seven years of my playing career," said Quak, 29.
"I'm grateful for teams that give me freedom to express myself and show what I can do, and I'm glad to achieve one of these personal targets. My next goal must be to win the league."
The Sailors had a double as Saifullah Akbar was named Young Player of the Year, following a breakthrough season with two goals in 11 games.
The Coach of the Year gong went to Keiji Shigetomi, who led Albirex Niigata to their fourth Singapore Premier League title in five years this term.
ROLL OF HONOUR (INDIVIDUAL)
Player of the Year
Young Player of the Year
Coach of the Year
Goal of the Year
Referee of the Year
Ahmad A'Qashah Ahmad Al'Badowe
Assistant Referee of the Year