Faris Ramli 'sad' to leave 'supportive' Home United for PKNS in MSL
Singapore attacker Faris Ramli has given credit to Home United for providing the platform to raise his career to another level as he looks forward to his Malaysia Super League (MSL) adventure with PKNS FC in 2018.
The 25-year-old joined the Protectors in 2016 after three years with the LionsXII and saw his first season disrupted by injury. But he exploded into life last term with 21 goals and 21 assists in all competitions and was one of the nominees for S.League Player of the Year.
Faris formed an almost telepathic understanding with Croatian forward Stipe Plazibat as the Protectors made a surprise run to the AFC Cup ASEAN zonal final and scored almost 100 goals in the calendar year. Plazibat has since left for Thai giants Bangkok Glass.
Now officially a PKNS FC player, he has mixed feelings about departing the Bishan-based club.
Another season's over and what an interesting and successful one it has been! When I stood here twenty four months ago, I would never have thought that we would do so well as a team but at the end of the day, the spirit within the team is the one that made us do so well in the last season despite not winning any title. We've had a phenomenal season and our share of successes but we've also had a few anxious moments too. Remember the AFC Cup zonal semi-final when we were 2-1 down against Global FC, I thought we would have lost the match but all the players stood by each other until the very end and show that we can win any games in any circumstances. We came back and won 3-2 after the final whistle. Definitely one of the precious memories that I will always keep with me. . Coaches and the back staff officials were great. The team was awesome. Good character, discipline and attitude from the players towards every game. Although we all feel a little disappointed not to win any silverware, it's important to remember that we'll need to be every bit as good next year and we've learnt some valuable lessons from last season. One of the great things about this beautiful game is that there's always room for improvement, we can all work on doing something just a little better. When everyone does that, the results can be amazing and if there's one thing I know about each and every one of you, it's that there isn't anyone who wouldn't give their all for the TEAM! . And last but not least, the fans that has been supporting me & HUFC, I thank you guys for coming down bishan stadium every single match to support us. Keep supporting HUFC as football is nothing without the fans! So thank you guys. 🙏🏽 . Now it's time for me to take my leave and move on. Once again, thank you Home United for everything. Hope to be part of you guys in the future if we do cross path again. ❤️ . #hufc2017 #fr #10 #yadragonsya #NIKEiDSG
"It's sad for me to leave Home United as they've been very supportive to let me go and have a try abroad," Faris told ESPN FC. "I like to thank coach Aidil [Sharin], [assistant] coach Saswa [Saswadimata Dasuki] and all the officials at the club for the help and guidance.
"I had a great season in 2017, but it's time for me to move on and take on new challenges. Anything can happen in football, so hopefully one day I might come back and play with them again. I wish them all the best for the season ahead."
Having finally achieved his dream of playing abroad, Faris cannot wait to get started under former Malaysia 2010 Suzuki Cup winning coach Datuk K. Rajagobal at PKNS.
The Singapore international, who has four goals in 38 international appearances, will have to work in tandem with Malaysia legendary forward Safee Sali and rising starlet Jafri Firdaus Chew at the Red Ants.
He was linked to big moves to Selangor and Muang Thong United after the 2017 season ended, but nothing came to fruition.
"To be part of coach Datuk Rajagobal's plans is a huge honour to me and I'm really grateful for that," he said. "A big reason why I signed is because I felt that they're ambitious as a club and want to move forward.
"Our squad are made up of mostly youngsters this year and it's a great platform for me. Now I got to try to showcase some skills and produce good things for my new fans who have been supporting me since my first day at PKNS."
PKNS are eyeing for a better campaign in 2018 after finishing seventh out of 12 teams in the MSL last season.
Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT