Football: Irfan Fandi makes debut for S'pore in 2-0 loss away at Hong Kong

SINGAPORE - Irfan Fandi, eldest son of local football great Fandi Ahmad, followed in his father's footsteps by representing the Lions as a senior international but was unable to prevent Singapore from losing 2-0 to Hong Kong on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old, wearing the No. 23 jersey, was given his first senior start by national caretaker coach V. Sundramoorthy at the Mong Kok Stadium.

Fandi, 54, recently named the Football Association of Singapore's head coach of youth and currently assisting Sundram with the national team, watched from the Singapore bench.

The hosts took the lead in the 42nd minute when midfielder Lam Ka Wai found team-mate Alex Akande with a lobbed pass, and the Nigeria-born striker finished calmly past Singapore's Izwan Mahbud.

Akande then turned provider in the 70th minute as he collected a header from substitute Jaimes McKee and laid the ball into Huang Yang's path. The midfielder's fierce shot flew low into the net.

Singapore's best chance fell to substitute Yasir Hanapi in stoppage time of the second half but both his shots missed the target.

The inclusion of Irfan was one of six changes made by Sundram from the starting XI he had sent out for the goal-less draw against Malaysia on Oct 7.

He also gave run-outs to Izwan, Shakir Hamzah, Madhu Mohana, Iqbal Hussain and Mohan Anumanthan.

The 51-year-old tactician is using these friendlies, a 10-day training camp in Qatar next month and a final sparring match on Nov 12 in Singapore as preparation before the Republic's Suzuki Cup opener against the Philippines on Nov 19.

Singapore will also face fellow four-time champions Thailand and Indonesia in Group A.