Fandi's third son Ilhan chases professional dream
Fandi's third son enrols in UK school for two years, will train at academy with links to Leeds and Man City
Ilhan Fandi, the third son of local football icon Fandi Ahmad, will spend the next two years in England, in a bid to make it as a professional player in Europe.
Talented forward Ilhan, who turns 15 in November, has enrolled in the Queen Ethelburga's College in York, where he will pursue a General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE).
The teenager, who arrived in England last Friday with his father joining him a day later, will live in the school's boarding.
The former Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) student told The New Paper in a phone interview: "I'm very excited, and I'm looking forward to getting to play with the school and learn more from the boys here.
"I spent 10 days here in March (to acclimatise), and I think the main difference between the training I get here and in Singapore is the intensity and the facilities.
"My dream is to one day play professionally in Europe.
"And my goal here is to get technically better, grow bigger and stronger, and be mentally ready for any challenge."
In addition to training and studying at the college, Ilhan will also train two or three times a week with the i2i Football Academy also based in York.
The stable of coaches at i2i include former Manchester United winger Jonathan Greening and ex-Leeds United striker Richard Cresswell.
The academy also has contacts with various English clubs such as Leeds and Manchester City.
The biggest success story for the academy so far is Ronaldo Vieira, the 19-year-old Guinea-Bissau midfielder who signed for Leeds in 2015 and has since been capped by England at the Under-20 level.
Fandi told TNP: "The main goal is for Ilhan to be exposed to a higher level of training and, of course, at the same time not neglect his education.
"Generally, Ilhan has good technical ability.
"I hope in the next two years he can improve his physicality a lot more.
"Also, the training here is very tough, so he will have to be strong mentally and push himself.
"He is alone, but he is quite a jovial boy so I think he will make a lot of friends.
"I don't think he will miss home that much."
At the end of the two years, Ilhan will decide on whether to extend his studies, or return to Singapore to serve National Service, or pursue an A Level certificate.
Ilhan's two elder brothers also trained and played overseas, in England, Spain and Chile.
Irfan, 20, made his international debut for Singapore a year ago against Hong Kong and currently has seven caps.
Ikhsan, 18, played his first senior match for the Lions just last month, also against Hong Kong.
Fandi has two other children, youngest son Iryan, 11, and daughter Iman, 17.