FANDI Ahmad’s two older sons, Irfan and Ikhsan, have been offered contracts to join the academy team of Spanish second-division football club Hercules.The former Singapore captain could not contain his joy when he broke the good news to The Straits Times.He said: “My sons have secured academy-team contracts with Hercules. Once they are both enrolled in schools in Spain, they will sign the documents. “I am very happy with the contracts and will accept the offers.‘The boys have been offered two-year deals to train four times a week and play matches every Saturday for Hercules’ academy. Should they prove good enough, they will be offered professional contracts when they turn 18.According to the 50-year-old, still adored by Singaporeans for his Malaysia Cup heroics, Irfan and Ikhsan, aged 15 and 13 respectively, will begin playing for the club in September.“The season for the youth league is almost ending,‘ he explained.
“That’s why Irfan and Ikhsan won’t be registered as Hercules players until September, when the new season begins.“In the meantime, I hope to settle their schooling arrangements. Irfan has got a place in a British international school but as each class is limited to 25 students, Ikhsan has been placed on the wait list.‘Since 2008, the teenagers have been chasing their dream of turning professional in Europe, just like Fandi, who starred for Dutch club Groningen from 1983 to 1985. Trials and training stints with Arsenal, Chelsea, Reading, AC Milan, Vicenza and Valencia did not work out owing to work-permit problems or issues with the boys’ education fees.But Fandi is delighted with how well his sons have settled in at the club, which is based in the south-coast city of Alicante.He said: “Irfan and Ikhsan are cheerful characters and they have made new friends very quickly in Spain. “I am glad to see how comfortable they are and how they don’t miss home.“Irfan is dealing with the physical side of the game very well and although Ikhsan is smaller-sized, he is a smart player who knows how to take care of himself on the pitch.‘