Irfan Fandi To Work Even Harder After Top 40 Achievement

SINGAPORE: Irfan Fandi, son of Singapore’s football icon, Fandi Ahmad, was recently named in a list of top 40 best young talents in world football. The 17-year-old was the only Singaporean among six Asian youngsters on the list that was posted on British news site, The Guardian.

In an interview with Channel NewsAsia on Tuesday (Nov 11), the teenager, currently training in Chile, said he first got wind of it on social media.

“My teacher from my old school, the Singapore Sports School, told me about this through Instagram,” said Irfan. “At first, I thought she was joking, then she sent me more links to it and then I realised that it was all real.

“Then after a few hours, I got tweets from people and Instagram pictures, and I felt really happy because I have been working really hard for the past few years. This doesn’t mean that I stop working hard, it only means that I have to work even harder for the next upcoming years.”

At 1.86 metres tall, Irfan has a significant height advantage over other Asian footballers. He is hoping to gain valuable experience from his training stint in Chile.

“The biggest change for me is adapting to the weather and also adapting to the playing style here,” he said. “The style of play in Chile compared to Singapore is totally different. Here, it’s really fast, really technical. So I have to work really hard to be at their standard, and then be better than them to play in a higher level than them.”

His father, Fandi, was the first Singaporean footballer to play in Europe, and said going west is the aim.

“Definitely, their main target is to play professionally in Europe, anywhere in Europe,” said Fandi. “But because they love football too much, so much, that’s why they are on this path, and they want to carry the name of Fandi Ahmad.

“Right now, I think focus is on Irfan, as he is already 17 years old. I know it’s not easy for a 17-year-old to sign a contract. It’s against the rules. But slowly, surely, I am sure he will get there.”

CIMB has offered a 6-figure sponsorship deal to both Irfan and his 15-year-old brother, Ikhsan.

“I am sure all soccer-loving Singaporeans must feel very proud that one of our home-grown young football talents has been voted one of the Top 40 best footballers,” said CIMB Bank Singapore CEO Mak Lye Mun. “I also read that Irfan’s stint in Chile has made him a better footballer and that was one of the reasons why he was voted, so CIMB is happy that we played a part in that sponsorship.”

With football scouts sniffing around, there could be a chance that Irfan will eventually follow in his father’s footsteps and play for a European club.



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