Football: Ikhsan Fandi joins older brother at Home United

Ikhsan (right) aims to do well in Prime League games to stand a chance of moving up to the first team, in which Irfan is the youngest player.
Ikhsan (right) aims to do well in Prime League games to stand a chance of moving up to the first team, in which Irfan is the youngest player. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Just two days after the signing of promising young footballer Irfan Fandi, S-League club Home United have followed that up by snapping up his younger brother Ikhsan.

Ikhsan, a 16-year-old striker, will feature in Home's Prime League squad, a developmental and reserve side mainly comprising youths. The Protectors, whose head coach Philippe Aw is known for giving youngsters first-team opportunities, finished runners-up to Tampines Rovers in the Prime League last season.

Ikhsan served notice of his talent at the Lion City Cup last August when the forward scored a perfect hat-trick of goals with a header and strikes from both feet for the National Football Academy (NFA) Under-16 team against the Liverpool U-15 side in a 3-3 Lion City Cup draw at Jalan Besar Stadium.

At Home, the youngster will get to train regularly with the senior team, with a possibility that he could be promoted to the first team to feature in S-League games.

He said: "I look forward to playing alongside the senior players in the team, and definitely to scoring a lot of goals this season."

The Protectors were buzzing with excitement over the new recruits. The club's Facebook announcement called the Fandi brothers "Double Dragons", and also stated that "Ikhsan plays behind the striker, leveraging on his vision, brilliant ball control and the ability to dribble, shoot and pass over both short and long distances."

Irfan, 18, and Ikhsan are former national captain Fandi Ahmad's two oldest sons.

Home's chief executive Azrulnizam Shah Sohaimi said: "We believe that for Ikhsan and Irfan, getting the chance to train and compete every day with established players in the country like Juma'at Jantan and Faris Ramli, as well as foreign players who have been successful here like Ken Ilso, will be a great step in their development."

While Ikhsan's long-term dream is to play overseas, he will take it a step at a time for now.

Ikhsan, who had a training stint alongside Irfan at Chilean top-flight club Universidad Catolica from late 2013 to early 2015, said: "I am remaining focused on working hard and my personal goal is to feature in the S-League soon."

Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2016, with the headline 'Ikhsan joins older brother at Home'. Print Edition | Subscribe