Fandi Ahmad’s eldest son Irfan makes S.League debut at 17

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Fandi Ahmad’s eldest son Irfan makes S.League debut at 17
Irfan Fandi, eldest son of Fandi Ahmad, beside Courts Young Lions coach Aide Iskandar.

Just hours after signing for the Courts Young Lions, Irfan Fandi made his S.League debut as his team took on Tampines Rovers on Thursday night.

The eldest son of Singapore football legend Fandi Ahmad, who turns 18 later this year, will link up with what is essentially the national Under-23 side until 30 June in order to be part of their preparations for the upcoming SEA Games.

Irfan, who stands at a strapping 1.86 metres despite his age, was deployed in a centre-back role instead of his usual position as a striker at Jurong West Stadium.

The teenager acquitted himself well enough at the back with a few no-nonsense clearances, while weighing in with one or two solid tackles. He was also involved in some robust challenges and the number 23’s night ended when he was taken off after 62 minutes in a 1-0 loss.

It was not Irfan’s first time playing as a defender, having been deployed in the position the Singapore U22s’ recent 3-0 loss to Cambodia’s senior side in a friendly a week ago.

Irfan, who is on the books of Chilean top-flight side Universidad Catolica, noted that the style of play was different from what he had experienced in South America.

“I think it was a very good experience for me because the way they play here is different,” he said. “It’s more physical, so I am going have to get used to that and just give my best every time I play.
“I thought we played really well and I think everyone gave their best; we were just unlucky [to lose].”

Coach Aide Iskandar explained after the game that Irfan was used as a makeshift defender as captain
Shakir Hamzah was ruled out due to injury and he was satisfied with his display.

“I think he did well and now he gives me good options [as] he can play [both] upfront and at the back,” the former national captain said.

Irfan is likely to see action in his usual striker role as the season goes on, having already proven himself as a threat after scoring a goal each in his last two games for the U23s in their friendly defeats to Japan U22s and Syria U23s last month.

Touted as one of local football’s brightest prospects and tipped to emulate his father, Irfan will be vying for a spot in the U23s team that will be gunning for a first-ever gold medal in football when the Games come around in June.