Sat, Oct 16, 2010
The New Paper
Fandi needs $300,000 to fulfil sons' dreams

By S Murali

HE KNOWS what he needs to do.

But Fandi Ahmad still has to work out how to do it.

Yesterday, The New Paper broke the news that Singapore soccer legend Fandi has decided to take his family to Europe, in order to give his two sons Irfan, 13, and Ikhsan, 11, a chance to pursue a career as professional footballers.

Fandi's first choice right now is Italy, where close friend and manager R Sasikumar is trying to get him a job as sporting director of a Serie B club.

The job offer is contingent on Sasikumar securing a deal for some Indonesian investors to buy the club, a move which the Fifa-registered agent says is "80 to 90 per cent done".

But if that deal somehow falls through, Fandi told The New Paper that he has other options in mind.

One of them is to take up a job offer in Holland with his former club FC Groningen.

That would also allow him to enrol his sons into the youth academy there.

Unfortunately, though, it may force Fandi to break up his family unit.

Final option

Said Fandi yesterday: "The offer in Holland is still there but they only have the funds to pay for me. They can't afford to pay to have my whole family there."

His final option is to move to England to place his sons in school there, allowing them to join one of the English clubs' soccer academies.

The boys had trials at Arsenal, Chelsea and Reading in June, all of whom had expressed interest.

But England or Holland could turn out to be a lot more costly.

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Said Fandi: "Italy would be perfect, because I could move my whole family there.

"But if I have to opt for Holland or England, there is a chance that I can only go with the two boys, leaving (wife) Wendy with the other two kids in South Africa or Jakarta."

And knowing the kind of family man Fandi is, he would surely not prefer to have the family split up.

At the centre of it all is the issue of finance - as living in Europe will not be cheap. Neither will it be easy for him to send his kids to international schools abroad.

Fandi admitted to The New Paper that he needs to sort out the financial part of his move.

"Of course if I had the money to pay for it all myself, we won't even need to talk about this. But it is a big investment and I really need to work it out."

The New Paper understands that Fandi may need up to $300,000 to fund his sons' education and accommodation needs in Europe for the next five years.

Said Sasikumar, who is managing Fandi and his sons: "We are currently talking to a lot of sponsors and well-wishers about sponsorship deals or even scholarship ones.

"We hope to work out a business proposal where someone invests in the boys and they could benefit if the boys make it big in the future."


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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