Football: S'pore striker Ikhsan Fandi joins brother Irfan at Thailand's BG Pathum

National striker Ikhsan Fandi will be playing in the AFC Champions League next year. PHOTO: IKHSANFANDI/INSTAGRAM

SINGAPORE - National striker Ikhsan Fandi has joined Thai champions BG Pathum on a two-and-a-half year contract from newly promoted Norwegian top-tier side FK Jerv.

The Straits Times understands there is a transfer fee of more than US$50,000 (S$68,300) and he is set to see his annual salary jump significantly from the five-figure to six-figure range.

With their Brazilian striker Diogo out with a shoulder injury, the Thai League 1 club have been on the lookout for a striker as they currently sit fifth out of 16 teams after 15 matches, five points adrift of leaders Buriram United midway through the season, having scored just 16 goals.

The Rabbits made the surprise announcement on Facebook on Wednesday (Dec 22), about two hours before the first leg of Singapore's AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final clash with Indonesia.

In a video reveal of their new signing on the club's BG Channel, elder brother and fellow Lion Irfan Fandi told viewers that he had a gift for them. After handing Ikhsan a parcel, the younger brother appeared in their jersey with the No. 99, and said: "Can't wait to see you guys after the AFF Suzuki Cup"

The 22-year-old told The Straits Times: "I'm pleased to join BG and am looking forward to play with Irfan in T1 and in the AFC Champions League next year. I hope to score goals for BG and defend the title.

"I'm thankful for my time in Norway, in which I have learnt a lot playing with and against physical and technical opponents, and playing a part in the team's promotion. I'm sad to leave but I feel it's time for a new challenge for me.

"I'm still young and I still have ambitions of playing in a top league in Asia or Europe. I will continue to work hard to establish myself at BG in order to achieve these goals."

The 1.83m attacker, who has 23 caps and 10 goals for Singapore, started playing in the Norway second-tier when he joined Raufoss IL in 2019. The following season he agreed terms to play for Jerv until the end of 2022.

In three years of Norwegian football, he has scored 16 goals in 77 games, averaging a goal every 199 minutes.

At the ongoing Asean Football Federation Championship on home soil, he grabbed a brace in Singapore's 3-0 win over Myanmar on Dec 5 as the Lions went on to qualify for the semi-finals for the first time since they won their fourth title in 2012. Ikhsan also scored the equaliser against Indonesia in the semi-final first leg draw (1-1) on Wednesday at the National Stadium.

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