Irfan: I'll get even better

Irfan: I'll get even better

He already stands an imposing 1.86 metres tall, and boasts a physique that will make teenage girls swoon.

But Irfan Fandi, the eldest son of Singapore football legend Fandi Ahmad, is only focused on his football.

The 17-year-old, who along with 15-year-old brother Ikhsan has been training with top Chilean club Universidad Catolica for close to a year, was recently named as one of the 40 Best Young Talents In World Football by British newspaper The Guardian.

The rating is for those born in 1997, and Irfan is one of just five Asians on the list, and one of only two South-east Asians (the other being Vietnamese midfielder Phan Thanh Hau).

While happy at the recognition, he vowed to get even better as he plots a professional career in Europe.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Irfan said: "I found out yesterday afternoon when my former Singapore Sports School teacher sent a link to me and said I was on the list.

"At first I thought she was joking but I read it for myself and saw it was real.

"I'm very grateful to be listed in the top 40... It shows all my hard work is paying off and I won't stop working hard.

"I want to thank my family and everyone who has helped through my football journey so far, most importantly CIMB for helping me with my education here in Chile (the bank recently inked a six-figure sponsorship deal with the two boys).

"I want to make everyone proud."

Irfan is progressing well in South America.

Despite only being part of Universidad's Under-18 team, he has impressed club head coach Julio Cesar Falcioni enough to earn a call-up to train with the first-team squad a number of times.

There, he gets to rub shoulders with the likes of former Liverpool and CSKA Moscow winger Mark Gonzalez and former Porto midfielder Tomas Costa.

Irfan acknowledges he still has a long way to go.

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