Football: Five things to know about Irfan Fandi, eldest son of S'pore football great Fandi Ahmad

Irfan Fandi is the eldest son of former Singapore captain Fandi Ahmad.
Irfan Fandi is the eldest son of former Singapore captain Fandi Ahmad. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Irfan Fandi, eldest son of former Singapore captain Fandi Ahmad, has followed in his famous father's footsteps by representing the Lions as a senior international.

The 19-year-old was named in national caretaker coach V. Sundramoorthy's starting line-up for the international friendly match against Hong Kong on Tuesday night (Oct 11).

Here are five things to know about the teenager.

Name: Irfan Fandi

Born: Aug 13, 1997

Height: 1.87m

Club: Home United

Position: Striker/ centre-back

1. BRIGHT TALENT

Irfan is widely considered one of Singapore football's brightest prospects.


A Bahrain Under-19 player pulling the shirt of Singapore Under-21's Irfan Fandi (in red) during an attempt to stop Irfan from scoring during a international friendly match at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on 4 Sept, 2016. Singapore U-21 fall 1-0 to the visiting Bahrain U-19 team in the match. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

In 2014, he was named by British newspaper The Guardian as one of the top 40 young talents in world football.

He was also part of the SEA Games team that crashed out of the group stages in Singapore last year. But he impressed whenever he played, particularly when he set up a goal for forward Faris Ramli against Cambodia in the Under-23 competition.

He is currently serving full-time national service.

2. LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

The public first caught a glimpse of Irfan's talent at the 2013 Lion City Cup at Jalan Besar Stadium.


Irfan Fandi raised the loudest cheers from the Jalan Besar Stadium crowd when he equalised for the Singapore Under-16s, who lost 1-2 to Arsenal during the 25th Canon Lion City Cup on June 8, 2013. ST PHOTO: ASHLEIGH SIM

 

Despite the pressure on him because of his famous father, Irfan did not disappoint as he scored against the Under-15s of Arsenal and German club Eintracht Frankfurt.

Apart from his finishing, the teenager impressed with his physical strength, aerial power and sound technique.

Just like his father, Irfan ha previously worn the No. 17 jersey. Fandi picked it as his lucky number as he believes that one and seven adds up to eight, which means prosperity in Chinese.

3. STRONG PHYSIQUE

While Fandi was a pure goal poacher, his son Irfan has begun learning how to terrorise opposing strikers.


Irfan Fandi, a Home United player, has been playing more as a centre-back in the last 12 months. PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

Despite his tender age, the Home United player has a strapping physique and has been playing more as a centre-back in the last 12 months.

His aerial ability has come in handy on either end of the pitch and he has impressed Sundram with his defensive abilities.

 


Nur Sarah Abdullah (Wendy Jacobs) with her 
son Irfan Fandi. PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

4. CELEBRITY BABY

His birth made headlines because a parenting magazine paid a five-figure sum to have exclusive publicity rights to the newborn.

Hours after he was born, dad was on the pitch again, playing for S-League club Singapore Armed Forces FC (now Warriors FC). Fandi scored the winner in a 3-2 win over Balestier Central (now Balestier Khalsa) and promptly dedicated the goal to his newborn son.

5. FOOTBALLING SIBLINGS

Singapore football star Fandi Ahmad and South Africa-born model Wendy Jacobs married in 1996 and their first child, Irfan, was born a year later.

Following Irfan are four more siblings - brothers Ikhsan, Ilhan and Iryan, and sister Iman.

Ikhsan, 16, is a striker noted for his ability to dribble at defenders and beat them with individual skill. Ilhan, 13, is named after former Turkey international striker Ilhan Mansiz. In 2013, he scored all four goals for Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) in the National Primary Schools Football Championship final, helping his team beat Henry Park 4-3.

Iryan, born on National Day in 2006, is an attacking midfielder who idolises Brazil star Neymar.


 Irfan (left) and Ikhsan, sons of Singapore football legend, Fandi Ahmad, at Changi Airport before they flew to Spain to join football club Hercules. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Iman's favourite sport is tennis, but she has also played football as a defender. Her former primary school (CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity) offered neither and she took up sprinting instead. In 2012, she won the 100m final in the National Inter-Primary School Track and Field Championships in 13.68sec. The 15-year-old is now a Singapore Sports School student.