Unknown Iqram turning heads at Home United
|hOMe united||Balestier Khalsa|
At star-studded Home United, Iqram Rifqi has been quietly making a name for himself.
Still on the club's Prime League books, the 21-year-old winger has held his own among his more illustrious teammates since making his senior debut in a Singapore Cup match against Warriors FC in July.
With 11 matches under his belt in all competitions this term, including eight substitute appearances, Iqram hopes this is a sign that his three years of hard work in the Prime League is bearing fruit.
The switch from Prime League to the Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League has been challenging, though.
He said: "The pace of the S.League games as compared to Prime League is very different.
"S.League players are very fast and it's definitely more intense, so I have to think and play faster to adapt to their playing style."
For inspiration, Iqram needs to look no further than his Home teammate and close friend Adam Swandi, with whom he also played during their National Football Academy days.
Adam, also 21, rose to prominence during the 2011 Lion City Cup in Singapore, and has since represented the senior national team.
Iqram said: "I've always admired how composed Adam is on the field. He is very skilful and adapted quickly to playing in the S.League.
"I hope that, someday, I can be on a par with him."
He may get another chance to shine tonight, when Home take on Balestier Khalsa at Jalan Besar Stadium in an S.League clash.
He said: "I'm very thankful to my coach (Aidil Sharin) for giving me the opportunity to play in the S.League.
"He pushes me to do better in every training session, and that's helping me adapt to the S.League."
Iqram's performances have impressed Aidil, who feels the youngster can play on either wing or behind the main striker.
Aidil said: "Iqram is like my ace card, he provides me with options.
"So far, he's been performing well whenever he comes on and he is able to change the game, which is good."
However, the 40-year-old warned that things may start to get a little trickier for Iqram from now on.
Said Aidil: "As of now, a lot of players and opponents are not familiar with him yet.
"But when opponents get to know him and his style of play, it's going to get tough for him.
"For him to get to the next level, he needs a strong pre-season and has to work on his physical and mental strength.
"Iqram has talent. As long as he keeps working hard, he'll go far."