Ilhan Fandi sparks ACS (Junior) title win

His two older brothers have made headlines over the past two years.

But Ilhan Fandi is not about to be left behind in the glory stakes - not after leading Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) to their first National Primary Schools Football Championship.

After all, the 10-year-old belongs to football royalty in Singapore, being the third son of Fandi Ahmad, one of the country's greatest players.

Ilhan, named after ex-Turkey international striker Ilhan Mansiz, scored all four goals in ACS (Junior)'s 4-3 victory over Henry Park Primary.

And he proved that he certainly has Fandi's DNA with his fourth goal.

With just two minutes left and the score tied at 3-3 in extra time, he picked up the ball inside his own penalty box.

He set off - beating one, two, three and, finally, four defenders - before powering home the winner from distance, giving the goalkeeper no chance.

"It was a brilliant performance. It doesn't get any better than that," his mother, Wendy Jacobs, told The Straits Times.

"It is very difficult to praise him in public because I'm his mother but one of the best things that happened was how other parents and spectators came up to me after the game to praise Ilhan," she said.

Certainly, Mizra Ismail, who was watching from the stands on Monday, was impressed.

He had come to support his nephew Ezra Israel, who was Ilhan's fellow striker that morning at the Co-Curricular Activities Branch pitch in Evans Road.

Said the 29-year-old youth football coach: "It was a one-man show. Henry Park lost to one boy.

"Ilhan is a complete player. He has the skills, he ran like a gazelle but, most of all, he had the mental strength."

Down 0-2 at half-time, Mizra noted that many of the ACS boys were in tears but Fandi's boy stayed focused.

Not only was his four-goal haul notable, two of his strikes were also scored directly from corners.

And in the last action of the game, the 1.32m Ilhan tracked back and headed the ball off the line to preserve the 4-3 lead.

His brothers Irfan, 16, and Ikhsan, 14, are already with the national age-group teams.

Both strikers have been offered contracts with the academy of Hercules, a Spanish second-division club.

Given this week's sterling show, it appears Ilhan has taken his first positive steps to keep up his illustrious family name.

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