After his eye-catching performances for the national Under-23 football team recently, teenager Irfan Fandi is set to boost the Courts Young Lions' attack in the S-League this season.
The Straits Times understands that talks are under way between the Football Association of Singapore and Chilean side Universidad Catolica to allow the striker to play for the Young Lions, essentially the national Under-23 side, in the S-League until after June's SEA Games on home soil.
Irfan, 17, played for the U-23s in their last two friendly matches, scoring both the team's goals in their 1-8 and 1-2 losses to Japan U- 22s and Syria U-23s respectively.
He is the eldest son of former national captain and current LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad.
He is currently with the national U-22s, along with younger brother Ikhsan, in Cambodia for a friendly match against the Cambodian senior side today.
National U-23 and Courts Young Lions coach Aide Iskandar had previously indicated that Irfan is in contention for a place in his SEA Games squad.
He said: "It will be great if we can have Irfan with us.
"He showed a lot of promise in the last two matches and gives us more options up front."
The 1.86m-tall Irfan, a forward like his father, impressed against Japan U-22s and Syria U-23s with his power, aerial ability and technique, earning praise from both opposing coaches - this, despite being up against players much older than him.
He missed out on the team's recent training trip to Turkey because of club commitments in Chile, and playing in the S-League will allow him to gel with his new team-mates.
Aide, who was speaking at the Courts Young Lions' 2015 season launch yesterday, added that he expected a tougher S-League campaign than last year, but said it would help his team gear up for June's SEA Games, where they are eyeing a first-ever football gold.
The Courts Young Lions finished 10th out of 12 teams last season.
There are 10 sides competing in the S-League this year.
Said former national captain Aide: "It's going to be an interesting season.
"There are many new foreign players but playing against the seasoned pros in the league will only be beneficial for the boys.
"We are looking forward to our first match, getting our first win and finding our rhythm.
"From there, I believe we will get better and better."
There is an additional boost for the side, as team sponsor Courts is expected to bring in at least three former English Premier League stars, including former Manchester United and England striker Andy Cole, to meet and inspire the players ahead of June's biennial SEA Games.
The Courts Young Lions, who will sport new kits for the 2015 season, kick off their S-League campaign with a home match against Hougang United at Jalan Besar Stadium on Monday.
This article was first published on February 28, 2015.
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