They have a burning ambition to make the grade as professional footballers but that dream has to wait for Irfan and Ikhsan Fandi, the two older sons of Singapore great Fandi Ahmad. Fandi told The Sunday Times that the duo's dream move to Hercules, who play in the Spanish second division, is definitely off.
However, there is a silver lining in this disappointing episode, and it could come from South America where the boys are set to sign as youth players for a Chilean club. Fandi declined to go into details, apart from saying the whole issue with Hercules was "complicated".
Said the 51-year-old former national captain: "There were two offers from Chile but, at the moment, we are looking at a club called Barnechea." AC Barnechea, based in the capital city of Santiago, play in the second-tiered Primera B division.
Ikhsan is nursing a broken left wrist, suffered while playing for the national Under-14s at last month's Asian Youth Games in Nanjing. Fandi said that once Ikhsan's cast is removed at the end of this month, the brothers will jet off to Santiago to finalise the deal. He will get lawyers to vet the fine print in the agreement.
In March, Irfan and Ikhsan, both forwards, left for the southern Spanish port city of Alicante to link up with Hercules. A week later, they were offered two-year contracts but the move has since collapsed.
Fandi has also experienced dramatic changes in his life in recent months, as he resigned from Malaysian Super League (MSL) side Johor Darul Takzim. Initially the head coach, he was redesignated assistant coach in July before he relinquished all coaching duties last month.
On Aug 19, he announced his quit decision.
While a transfer merry-go-round is expected in the MSL, with coach Irfan Bakti already gone from Selangor and LionsXII tactician V. Sundramoorthy expected to sign for Negeri Sembilan, Fandi is unlikely to be seen in a dugout soon.
"I am not considering a return to coaching professional teams at the moment. Right now, I just want to concentrate on my academy," he said of the facility based in Safra Tampines. "It was an amicable parting from Johor. There is no bitterness. What's important is I'm happy to be back home."
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