The third son of Singapore legend Fandi Ahmad could well be headed to England next year to further his footballing development.
TODAY reported last month that Ilhan Fandi, 13, travelled to York to train with the i2i Football Academy, with a view to finding a suitable school for him. This will allow him to stay in England and join an English club’s academy in due time.
Fandi revealed yesterday that Ilhan, who trained daily there, is keen on a permanent return, even though he will be on his own.
“We just (wanted to) find out whether he can stay alone; he said he is quite happy to try,” said the 54-year-old on the sidelines of a TAG Heuer event at Wisma Atria. “The boys there were much bigger (than him), but he enjoyed it.
“He’s okay with it so far … We’ll see. The most important thing is that the education system there is good; we hope we can enrol him.”
Fandi added that a possible school has already been identified: The Queen Ethelburga’s College, which caters to ages 14 to 19 and offers a traditional curriculum that includes A-Level.
He explained that Ilhan has already taken an aptitude test at the college and the family is waiting for the results, but the earliest possible enrolment will be in September next year. In the meantime, Ilhan will continue his studies here.
Fandi is also looking to send Ilhan there for “seven to 10 days” during next year’s March holidays to allow him another chance to acclimatise.
“It’s still a long way (until September) and we don’t know whether he will change his mind,” he explained. “That’s why maybe next year … we’ll send him there (again), see how he feels; we don’t want him to be homesick, even though it’s a boarding school.”
He added that Ilhan is keen to follow in the footsteps of his elder brothers, Irfan and Ikhsan, who both spent time training and playing in Chile.
All four were present to grace yesterday’s event at Wisma Atria, held in conjunction with tomorrow’s Battle of Europe 2016 clash between England Masters and Germany Masters.