Fandi's son Irfan to make national football debut this Saturday

6 June 2013 / 3 years 4 months ago

It has been a long-awaited moment - the arrival of the heir to Singapore's favourite footballing son Fandi Ahmad in a national jersey.Irfan, the eldest of Fandi's five children, will suit up in Singapore colours for the first time when he takes to the Jalan Besar Stadium pitch on Saturday for the Canon Lion City Cup, reported The Straits Times.The 15-year-old, who is contracted to Spanish second-division club Hercules, will turn out for the National Football Academy (NFA) Under-16s in their opening match against Arsenal U-15s.The calm and measured youngster is unfazed by the weight of history and his father's immense reputation on his shoulders."I can handle the pressure. I'm fine with it," he said."Sometimes, I get really upset (with the pressure) but when I do, I just stop. I block everything out and I don't do anything with it. I'm fine after that."People would say I'm nothing like my dad, or things like that. A lot of people said that. I don't really care what people say any more."My dad is also starting to tell me not to put too much pressure on myself because people are already going to do that to me."Instead of being concerned by the comparisons with his father, the striker, who joined the U-16 squad after returning from Spain last month, is focusing on improving his, game.He added: "I'm not him, I'm me. I'm just going to play the way I play and hope for the best."Fandi, who played in the inaugural 1977 edition of the same competition, was known for his killer instinct and nifty footwork.But Irfan, who is 1.8m tall, is developing into a sturdy centre-forward with a good aerial ability.Along with 1.92m defender Adam Hakeem, son of former national captain Nazri Nasir, the duo could give their opponents in the nine-day competition a hard time in the air.But coach Robin Chitrakar is resisting the urge to use "Route One" football.He said: "We don't know how the other teams are like yet. Let's see what brand of football they play and we will make the adjustments accordingly."The U-16 team, who returned from a seven-day training camp in Japan last week, are grouped with Arsenal and Germany's Eintracht Frankfurt U-15s.The other group features all U-15 teams: PSV Eindhoven, Corinthians of Brazil and the NFA team who also played last year.Chitrakar hopes that his side, who were formed in January, will find their feet quickly in the competition.He said: "They are five months old as a team."The boys will be nervous but they will give a good account of themselves."But there is one particular name that some fans will be looking out for.Said Lions fan Alex, Li, 30: "We have been hearing good things and are now really excited to finally see Fandi's son carrying on his family's name on the pitch."

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