9 things to know about Singapore's No. 9 Ikhsan Fandi
Singapore striker Ikhsan Fandi lit up the National Stadium on Saturday night (March 26), when he scored a brace as the Lions beat old rivals Malaysia 2-1 in a friendly match.
Here are some things to know about the man who wears the No. 9 jersey for Singapore:
1. It's all in the genes
His father is Singapore football legend Fandi Ahmad, his mother is model Wendy Jacobs. This is the quick and convenient explanation why Ikhsan is a fine footballer with good looks.
He has an elder brother Irfan, and younger brother Ilhan, who are also national team players, while their youngest brother Iryan used to play rugby in school. Younger sister Iman was also a sprinter when she was with the Singapore Sports School.
The Fandis lived in Indonesia when Fandi coached Pelita Jaya from 2006 to 2010. Family friend and former international R. Sasikumar also took Ikhsan and Irfan to train and trial in England, Italy and Spain before they became teenagers.
In 2013, the brothers moved to study and train in Chile before returning home in 2015. After completing National Service, Ikhsan signed for second-tier Norwegian club Raufoss in 2019 and then Jerv in 2020.
After helping Jerv avoid the relegation playoffs in 2020 and secure promotion to the top division in 2021, he moved to Thai club BG Pathum, where Irfan also plays.
Fans first got to see him play in a Singapore shirt at the 2015 Lion City Cup and he didn't disappoint.
The Singapore Under-16s were down 3-0 to the Liverpool U-15s, who had future first-teamers Curtis Jones and Neco Williams in their line-up, when Ikhsan scored a hat-trick in 11 minutes to salvage a 3-3 draw. The Cubs went on to lose 5-3 on penalties but Ikhsan had already made his mark.
4. He's good at football, only in the real world
Ikhsan readily admits to being not good at the Fifa video game series, but is more nifty in other online survival games like Fortnite, which he plays with Ilhan and Young Lions captain Jacob Mahler.
5. But, watch out Schooling!
Outside of football, Ikhsan likes to swim and enjoys chilling under the sun at Sentosa when he is back home in Singapore.
6. Singapore boy at heart ... and stomach
His favourite breakfast is two egg pratas, because "who doesn't like prata?"
7. Instagram top scorer
With 268,000 followers, Ikhsan is Singapore's most followed athlete on Instagram by a comfortable margin. Badminton world champion Loh Kean Yew and Olympic gold medallist Schooling have 219,000 and 180,000 followers respectively, while Ikhsan's brothers Irfan and Ilhan have 178,000 and 72,500 followers respectively.
8. He doesn't entertain weird requests
A girl once asked him to sing at her birthday party, while another wanted to pay to massage Ikhsan. He ignored the massage offer and politely declined the birthday invite.
9. He's the vainest of them all
In a recent interview, he was called out by Irfan and Ilhan as the most vain among the Fandi brothers. He is also not short of confidence, pointing to himself as the best sweet talker among the trio. When asked about his best pick-up line, he deadpanned: "I just say, 'hello', easy. I let the face do the talking."