Football: Adam's back, Irfan and Ikhsan are in

He raised the roof of the Jalan Besar Stadium at the 2011 Lion City Cup and brought Singaporeans to their feet with his intelligent movement, stylish dribbling and ability to create and score.

Adam Swandi was hailed as a future star, and moved to French side FC Metz last year, but the teenager has not had the best of times in Europe.

The 18-year-old is now back in Singapore and will be part of a joint-training tour to Austria (July 7 to 23) featuring both the national squad and the Under-23 team.

Adam will be registered with the U-23 side - not the national team that he was once a part of - and he could sign on for S.League side, the Courts Young Lions, when he returns.

While Adam mulls over his next move, Fandi Ahmad's two sons, Irfan and his younger brother Ikhsan, could see their stock rise after being included in the U-23 squad going to Austria.

Singapore national coach Bernd Stange has been disappointed with Adam's stint in France.

Adam was placed in the Metz U-21 side, but has yet to get a full match under his belt - a major problem for the German who gave the attacking midfielder his four senior caps.

Said Stange: "A football player who is two years out of competitions is nearly dead. I'm not happy that Adam is not getting weekly competitive games in Metz."

In response to queries from The New Paper, the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) director of marketing and communications, Gerard Wong, revealed that "Metz have indicated their interest in extending Adam's stay with the club", and a decision will be made soon.


"We will make a decision based on the best interests of his development as a player. We will not rule out bringing Adam back to our shores to continue his development with us," added Wong.

Stange has made his stand clear.

"I prefer that he stays in Metz, but only if gets to play competitive games there. If he doesn't play, then it is better that he comes back and joins the Young Lions," said the 66-year-old.

"But (even if this happens) Adam did not fail in France. He now has experience and he knows the standard of European football and what it takes to succeed there."

Irfan and Ikhsan are two surprise inclusions in Aide Iskandar's U-23 side travelling to Austria.

Irfan will turn 17 in August and is on a two-year stint with Chilean side AC Banerchea. Ikhsan is only 15 and his inclusion has raised more than a few eyebrows.

But Stange said: "It is my policy to take in all the shining talent in Singapore football, and I think Aide has made a good decision to bring these two boys.

"But (Ikhsan) is definitely not in line for the national team now, we have brought him along to 'smell' a little bit of what international football is - he won't play in Austria."

Irfan, though, will at least get a game.

"He is 1.85 metres tall and a good jumper - exactly what we are missing in South-east Asian football," said Stange.

"He will play, maybe against Borussia Dortmund. But it is too early to discuss if he has a chance to make the national team for (November's) AFF Suzuki Cup, but ask me again after we return from Austria."

The 41 men from both squads leave next Monday for a 16-day, six-game trip.

This article was first published on July 02, 2014.
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