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Irfan dreaming of starting spot

He may have come on as a substitute on Monday night against the Philippines Under-23s.

But the impact he made after his 35th-minute entrance was enough for everyone to get excited about the name "Irfan Fandi".

The 17-year-old, the eldest son of Singapore's most famous footballer, Fandi Ahmad, introduced himself on the big stage for the Singapore U-23s at the Jalan Besar Stadium three days ago.

The 1.87m target man, who came on for Shamil Sharif, proved a big threat up front as he created chances for his teammates and himself.

Tonight, as the Young Lions face Myanmar in their second Group A clash at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games, Irfan is dreaming of a place in the starting 11.

"I was quite surprised to come on so early in the last game.


"But we were missing something in attack, and I'm just glad I was able to contribute.

"I'm trying not to take on the pressure. I'll just do what the coaches want me to do."

When asked if he felt he had done enough to deserve a starting role tonight, Irfan smiled and shrugged.

"Of course, my dream is to start the next match - but it's up to the coach," he said.

With Shahfiq Ghani still sidelined by a knee injury, Irfan could well find a place in the first 11, alongside striker Sahil Suhaimi up front.

Coach Aide Iskandar declined to reveal his line-up, but said that Irfan has been working hard in training and could provide the different dimension which the Young Lions need in attack.

Irfan, who plays for Chilean top-tier club Universidad Catolica, received some valuable advice from Fandi after Monday's game.

"It was a real honour to play in front of so many fans, including my family," Irfan said.

"My dad told me I played well, and to keep working hard."

Sahil is a different player from Irfan and they complement each other well. It could give our opponents a headache with those two in attack.

— Singapore coach Aide Iskandar, on starting Sahil Suhaimi and Irfan Fandi up front together

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