News Singapore Premier League • June 29, 2018
Iqram Rifqi: From futsal star to Home United breakout
The 22-year-old midfielder is starting to establish himself in the Protectors set-up this season
Iqram Rifqi (right) celebrates after netting a late equaliser against the Young Lions.
SINGAPORE, 29 JUNE 2018 – He might currently be making head waves in the Great Eastern-Hyundai Singapore Premier League (SPL) with Home United FC, but the name Iqram Rifqi might ring a few bells within the local futsal community.
The 22-year-old was crowned the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the inaugural Adidas Tango League Singapore Edition in March 2017, which fuelled his desire to hit greater footballing heights.
“That was a milestone for me personally and it gave me greater motivation to get into the first team,” Iqram told the SPL website.
Iqram, who was in the Home Prime League team then, has enjoyed a steady rise since he made his professional debut last year.
Now an integral part of the Home squad, the midfielder has made nine appearances for the Protectors in all competitions this season and scored his first ever league goal this month.
That strike proved to be the winning goal at the Bishan Stadium against the Young Lions on 6 June, before his second of the season soon followed with a 89th-minute equaliser against the same opponents at the National Stadium last weekend.
“I was ecstatic (to score the goals),” he said. “All I can do is to thank my teammates for setting up for the goals for me!”
Iqram had already netted his first professional goal last year – on his professional bow no less – in the 15th minute against Warriors FC on 7 July in a League Cup tie.
“I felt happy that my coach was willing to try me out in the first team when there were many more talented players on the bench,” he reflected.
Iqram Rifqi celebrates after scoring his first ever league goal on 6 June against the Young Lions.
It was a moment that Iqram had set his sights on for a long time, recalling that he started playing football at the age of five because he wanted to fulfil his father’s dream.
“I picked up football because of my dad,” he said. “He always wanted his sons to play football when we grew up.
“My father wanted to be a professional player but couldn’t live out that dream due to (objections from) his father. That was why he wanted us to do what he can only dream of doing.
“At the age of 15, when I had a taste of international football with the National Football Academy (NFA, now FAS Football Academy or FFA), that was when I knew I wanted to play professionally.”
The attacker would go on to score a goal against Guam while representing the Singapore Under-15 National Team in an invitational tournament played in Hong Kong.
The left-footed Iqram prefers to play on the right wing as it allows him the opportunity to unleash shots once he is able to cut infield.
His playing style is similar to that of Wales winger Gareth Bale, who has won four UEFA Champions League titles with Real Madrid.
“He (Gareth Bale) has everything that a player wants, from height to speed to finishing,” Iqram pointed out.
Watch Iqram Rifqi score his first ever league goal for Home United FC.
A determined Iqram wants to take his game to the next level and dreams of playing outside of Singapore in the future.
“I have a lot to improve on and along the way I will try to pick up tips from senior players to perform better,” he said.
“I just want to become a better player. I will work as hard as I can to get as far as I can in my footballing career before I retire from football.”
Iqram certainly savours the opportunity to represent Singapore and remembers his Under-23 call-up from three years ago as the best moment in his career to date.
“I got my first international goal on my international debut against Thailand when I represented the Singapore U-23s in the Bangabandhu Gold Cup,” referring to the tournament hosted by Bangladesh.
If Iqram continues his projected ascent to the top of the game, it seems a matter of time before he earns a chance to represent the Lions.
And when he does, one can be sure that it will not just be the futsal community that will sit up and take notice of the rising Home star.