Ilhan most similar to Fandi when he was young

SINGAPORE - It was a bit of a challenge interviewing Fandi Ahmad and his wife, Wendy Jacobs, at their Seletar condominium last weekend.

Not because the couple were uncooperative. Not at all.

They were warm and jovial, despite their status as Singapore football's glamour couple - a local Posh and Becks, if you will - even if Fandi last professionally strutted his stuff on the field 14 years ago.

It was because Fandi's two youngest boys - Ilhan, 10 and Iryan, six - were busy trying to make themselves a part of the interview.

The cherubic Iryan, who initially kept to himself and offered only a shy smile when asked questions, was busy climbing onto his mum's back, the furniture, and later even this reporter.

Jacobs affectionately calls him "her monkey" and later explained how his favourite position on the football pitch is "hands on hips".

Barely suppressing her laughter, Wendy animatedly enacted Iryan's trademark when playing for the Fandi Ahmad Academy's (FAA) Under-8 team: "He would sit on the side and only ask the coach if he could play, when he felt like he could score.

"Then he would just wait on the side, standing with his hands on his hips.

"And he would go on and, most times, he'll score! On the field, he's a different person. He's happy like that."

Iryan, clearly embarrassed by his mum's story, zipped away on his Vigorboard (a type of skateboard).

Ilhan, meanwhile, was busy playing the Fifa 13 game on the PlayStation, muttering under his breath every time his team, Barcelona - his favourite player is Lionel Messi - conceded against Real Madrid.

He was clearly a sore loser too, resetting the game twice on occasions when Real went two goals clear of his beloved Barca.

This competitive edge is just one of the many characteristics the skinny boy inherited from his dad, who admits that, of his five children, Ilhan is the most similar to him when he was a young boy.

The lad named after Turkey striker Ilhan Mansiz - who starred at the 2002 World Cup a few months before he was born - was the most inquisitive too, asking The New Paper more questions than we did him.

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