Bundesliga debut just the beginning for Singh - Cacace
Liberato Cacace was one of many proud New Zealanders and former teammates of Sarpreet Singh who watched on as the former Hyundai A-League startlet made his Bundesliga debut for Bayern Munich last weekend.
Singh joined the German champions in July and made his competitive debut in Bayern's 6-1 win over Werder Bremen in Munich last Sunday.
In doing so, the 20-year-old became the second New Zealander to play in the German top flight behind Kiwi legend Wynton Rufer, who famously played for Bremen from 1989 to 1995.
Singh replaced Philippe Coutinho late in the match, and for Cacace - a teammate of attacker at youth international level and at Wellington Phoenix - it was a moment to savour.
"It just shows how much he's still working," he told a-league.com.au.
“He’s working towards playing in the Bundesliga consistently and I’m just happy that he has got his debut and hopefully he can get more of those chances.
“We keep in touch over social media, he’s definitely enjoying it and we do keep in touch here and there.
“He’s telling me he’s all good and he’s loving it over there. It was a big thing, not many players go to the Bundesliga and play for one of the best clubs in the world.
“He played for this club and he’s moved on to bigger things and everyone here is happy for him.”
Singh and Cacace are both graduates of Phoenix's football academy structure, which was started in 2013 and has operated full-time since 2016.
They have both won international caps for the All Whites, and were two standouts in the Kiwi club's sixth-placed finish in 2018/19, a season in which Cacace was one of the competition's breakout young talents.
Cacace is still only 19 but can sense he is a marked man this campaign as opposition teams and players have taken note of the full-back's superb command of the left flank.
“I’ve noticed the last few weeks I have been marked up a bit more than previously, but it just comes with being part of football," he said.
“Some teams will analyse your strengths and I’ve definitely noticed that.
“You’ve just got to train hard every day and work towards changing the way you play and hopefully adapt to different circumstances that come in the game."
Phoenix are unbeaten in five following four losses to open the campaign and welcome leaders Sydney FC to the New Zealand capital this Saturday afternoon.
Cacace, who received the first red card of his fledgling career in October's 2-1 reverse fixture, is relishing the opportunity to lay down a marker.
“We’ve already played them this season and it was a very good game,” Cacace said.
“Ufuk [Phoenix head coach Talay] was one of their coaches last season, and he’s got something up his sleeve
“Ufuk has got a plan every week, and hopefully the plans goes to perfection."
Saturday, 21 December 2019
Kick-off: 4.45pm local, 2.45pm AEDT
Venue: Westpac Stadium
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
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