SINGAPORE - Irfan Fandi, the eldest son of Singapore football legend Fandi Ahmad, has signed a one-year deal with S-League club Home United.
The 18-year-old 1.88m-tall striker played for the Courts Young Lions last year, scoring two goals in nine appearances for the team who are essentially the national Under-23 squad.
He told The Straits Times yesterday: "I feel that I need to move on in order to develop myself better as a player.
"At Home, there are many players who have played at a higher level and intensity. I can gain a lot from training and playing with them.
"I am looking forward to learning from the experienced players in the team."
Known for his physical strength, aerial power and sound technique, Irfan featured in the SEA Games football squad last year. While he did not score a goal in that campaign, he impressed with his link-up play, opening up chances in the box for the hosts.
He also made headlines when he lit the Games' cauldron alongside Fandi at the opening ceremony.
The lanky forward starred for the U-16s at the Lion City Cup in 2013, where he scored two of his team's three goals in the tournament - against the Under-15s of Arsenal and German club Eintracht Frankfurt.
Irfan, along with younger brother Ikhsan, 16, had a training stint at Chilean top-flight club Universidad Catolica from late 2013 to early 2015. The duo are the eldest of Fandi's five children.
But following the SEA Games, Irfan has chosen to remain in Singapore, as he is due to enlist for National Service (NS) this year. As such, his dream of playing overseas in Europe or South America has been put on hold for at least the next two years.
He said: "NS is a rite of passage every Singaporean man has to go through and I'm taking this positively. I will do my best to ensure that I stay on track in pursuing my dreams of playing professional football overseas."
Irfan is expected to line up for the Protectors alongside former LionsXII players forward Khairul Nizam, winger Faris Ramli, midfielder Zulfahmi Arifin, and Danish striker Ken Ilso, a former player in the second tier of the German Bundesliga.
Asked why he chose to sign for Home, he said: "The brand of football that Home United played last season was very exciting. They are the only team in the league who play short passing and they work the ball through various channels, and maintain possession at the same time."