“Stop Stephan Schrock, Manuel Ott and Kevin Ingresso and we can beat Ceres” says Home United defender Abdil Qaiyyim ahead of the 2018 AFC Cup Zonal Final.
Home United defender Abdil Qaiyyim is ready for a reverse of fortunes when Home United take on Ceres Negros in the 2018 AFC Cup Zonal Final, a repeat of the 2017 edition.
The two teams meet again after battling it out at the same stage of the competition last year, with the Filipino outfit triumphing 3-2 on aggregate to progress to the next stage.
This year’s edition coincidentally pits the two giants against each other again and this time out, Abdil knows what they need to do in order to advance.
“Schrock and their number eight Ott are the two who make the team tick,” Abdil told FOX Sports Asia. “They are the brains of the team along with Ingresso. Basically if we can stop these three players, we can stop the whole team from playing.
“Schrock is very mobile, technically sound and plays hard while Manuel Ott is a very, very clever player who can trouble our defenders. Together with Ingresso, they carry Ceres forward and we have to watch out for them.”
While a lot of the pre-match focus has revolved around this tie being a “revenge mission” for the Protectors, Abdil is hoping to use the Zonal Final as a Launchpad for a successful year in Singapore football, with the AFF Suzuki Cup in mind.
He added: “This AFC Cup is a platform for us to put Singapore football on the map. As we know, the Singapore national team haven’t been doing that well recently but Home have done quite well.
“We hope this makes Singapore football fans proud and it is National Day the next day after our second leg so by winning this, we hope we can make it better for the Singapore national team going into the Suzuki Cup and reignite local football passion.”
Abdil is likely to start in a three-man defence alongside Faizal Roslan and Shakir Hamzah but playing the first leg away in Bacolod may force coach Aidil Sharin to tinker with his usual formation and deploy a flat back-four instead.
The 29-year-old has been an integral part of the Protectors charge towards AFC Cup glory but has often been overlooked on the international front with only one appearance for the Singapore national team.
He feels that Lions head coach Fandi Ahmad should start casting his net wider, most notably in the direction of Home United players like himself.
“As a team, we are very proud of making it to the Zonal Final because it shows that our national team has a very wide cast of players to choose from.
“For us as players, we showed that we are able to fight for a place in the national team so hopefully with our showing in the AFC Cup, it will boost not just mine but my teammates chances of making it to the national team for the AFF Cup.”
Should Abdil and his teammates get the results they desire in the Zonal Final, they will have another chance to impress Fandi and the national selectors in the Inter-Zonal Final against North Korea’s April 25.