Quak Looking Forward To Reigniting Causeway Rivalry
Written by: Shawn Lim
It is a rivalry that stretches back to 1921 and while both sides have since stopped playing each other competitively, sparks still fly when Singapore takes on Selangor in The Sultan Of Selangor Cup (TSSC).
It is no surprise then, that playing in the yearly affair still ranks as a must-do for every Singaporean football player, who is always keen to triumph against their neighbours across the Causeway.
One player who understands the significance of this rivalry is Geylang International’s Gabriel Quak.
After all, the winger used to play for the now-defunct LionsXII in the Malaysian Super League and experienced intense atmosphere when playing in stadiums across up north.
Having been selected as part of the Singapore Selection side consisting of Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League players that will take on the Selangor Selection, Quak is looking forward to playing a Malaysian team again.
“This is my first time playing a Malaysian side ever since the LionsXII days and it's been two years now,” explained the 26-year-old.
“It's my first time playing in TSSC and I feel having the experience playing in Malaysia with the LionsXII for four years, I know how the rivalry is like and what kind of an atmosphere the fans can create. It's different from what it's like in Singapore.
“I've been following TSSC every year, when i see my friends and teammates play. You know it's always a capacity crowd of 80,000 in Shah Alam. This is first time it is being held in Singapore since 2009, so we don't know how the reaction will be like.
“We know 24,000 tickets have been sold and I believe there are more to come. With the Selangor fans coming down, I believe there will be a good atmosphere.”
While the Singapore Selection side - led by head coach Fandi Ahmad, assistant coach Nazri Nasir and team manager Noh Alam Shah - have a limited number of days to train together and forge an understanding, Quak is unfazed by the challenge.
“I wouldn't say it's a new team because I've worked with coach Fandi and Nazri before, but with Noh Alam Shah here and all, I believe everyone will be working in tandem,” explained Quak. “It will be a good one week with them.
“In fact, most of us know each other, we play week in week out against or with each other in the S.League. Some of us are in the National Team too, so we meet regularly and that's not an excuse.
“You may say we don't know each other. But then again it's football, you just need that few moments to know the players strengths and weaknesses. That's the joy and beauty of football, you don't need long to ice-break and that's why I love the game.
TSSC will also mark the first time that popular former national striker Alam Shah will return to football since his retirement, albeit on the sidelines and Quak is eager to work with the man affectionately known as “Ah Long”.
“For myself and most of the players, it's the first time working with him. It is exciting because we don't know what to expect. We only know him from his playing days, but he seems like a funny character who will definitely bring a different mood to the camp,” Quak said with a laugh.
“He looks positive and joyful, which is essential as it is what the players need at this point of time. It's a short time, we have three days of training and then it's game day.
“With people like this in the management team, it's good as he helps us to relax and go into the game with the mindset ‘Come on, let's just play happily and enjoy football’. That's what I think is important."
Schedule of Matches
Saturday, 6 May 2017
4.45pm - Singapore Sports School vs Selangor Combined Schools
6.30pm - Singapore Veterans vs Selangor Veterans
8pm - Singapore Selection vs Selangor Selection
Tickets for the match are priced at $8 for Adults and $3 for Concession*. They will be available from 9.00am on 3 April 2017 via www.sportshubtix.com, and from 10.00am via the SportsHub Box Office, SingPost outlets and the Sports Hub hotline (+65 3158 7888).
Above-mentioned ticket prices exclude ticketing fee.
* Concession tickets are applicable to Students aged 4 to 16, and Senior Citizens aged 60 and above. Children aged 4 and above must purchase a ticket for admission. Infant in arms and children under 4 years of age may be admitted free of charge provided they do not occupy a seat.