Gabriel Quak joins Thai Navy FC to become fourth Singaporean to ply his trade in Thailand this year.
One week before the 2018 Thai League (T1) kicks off, Navy Football Club have made a surprise move by signing Singapore international winger Gabriel Quak from S.League giants Warriors FC.
Quak, 27, joined the Warriors from Geylang International for the 2018 season but will now take his boots to the Chonburi province to play at the Satthahip Navy Stadium in T1.
The fleet-footed winger arrived in Bangkok on Friday for his medical before meeting Navy officials to sign a one-year deal to become the fourth Singaporean – Izwan Mahbud, Hassan Sunny and Zulfahmi Arifin – to play in Thailand this year.
The former Young Lions protege made his name as an exciting attacker with the LionsXII in the Malaysia Super League where he scored 10 goals in 80 appearances, winning the league title in 2013 before lifting the Malaysia FA Cup two years later.
Speaking exclusively to Fox Sports Asia, Quak revealed his surprise at the turn of events and credited the Warriors FC and Navy FC management for making his dream come true.
“Every footballer wants to play abroad someday and I am no different,” Quak said. “There were a few chats in the last few months but nothing concrete was on the table.
“On Tuesday night, I received a call from my agent in Thailand telling me that Navy wants to sign me immediately for the upcoming season.
“I have to admit that I’m still shocked to be here but I am very grateful to Warriors FC general manager Paul [Poh] and the Warriors management for giving me their blessings.
“It was really tough deciding to leave Warriors even though I was only there for such a short time. The teammates and backroom staff are a very tight group and I really think they will have a great season.
“Once Warriors gave the green light, we booked a flight and here I am as a Navy player. Still shocked but there is no time to waste as the season starts next week.”
The ex-LionsXII player will now return to Singapore over the weekend before heading back to Thailand on Monday to prepare for his home debut on February 11 against Ubon UMT.
Quak will see some familiar faces from there on, with former Geylang teammate Mark Hartmann turning out for the visitors.
That game is followed by a local derby against Chonburi FC, where his close friend and national teammate Zulfahmi is plying his trade.
“It will be interesting to go up against Mark and Zul but ultimately we are playing for our clubs and I objective is to help my club win matches,” he said.
“With more Singapore players here in Thailand this season, it is up to us to prove our worth.
“I’m just thankful to be given this wonderful opportunity by my chairman Adm. Rangsarit Sattayanukul, [General Manager] Niwat Jitpoolphol, coach Wiriya [Paopan] and Navy FC. I hope to repay their faith in me by giving everything in training and games.”
Navy FC finished in 13th place – 10 wins, 10 draws and 14 losses – last season and will be hoping to improve their standings this year with Captain Nattaporn Phanrit leading the troops.
The club have retained the services of foreign duo Rodrigo Vergilio and Bang Seung-Hwan. Former Kawasaki Frontale striker Vitor Junior will join Quak as the club’s new foreign imports. The Singapore international will take jersey no.22 at the club.