6 March 2015
Written by: Shawn Lim
Less than 24 hours after he signed for the Courts Young Lions, Irfan Fandi made his debut for Courts Young Lions in their 1-0 loss to Tampines Rovers at Jurong West Stadium on 5 March.
Deployed as a centre-back, Irfan displayed a good sense of positional awareness and maturity that belittled his tender age during the 63 minutes he spent on the field.
One particular moment which stood out during the match was when he was shielding the ball against Stags’ forward Mateo Roskam in his own half. Irfan refused to allow the much older and experienced Croatian to push him over and eventually cleared the ball.
It was telling that Tampines scored through Roskam in the 77th minute, only after Irfan was substituted because of a suspected back injury.
Young Lions coach Aide Iskandar heaped praise on Irfan after the match for performing like a natural centre-back. He added that the 18-year-old’s versatility will be a bonus to the team.
Said Aide: “I think Irfan did well tonight as a makeshift centre-back due to Shakir (Hamzah)'s injury, and now he gives me a good option as well because he can play upfront."
Irfan, who was brought along to the post-match conference by Aide, shared that that the physical side of the S.League left a deep impression on him.
“I think it was a very good experience for me because when you play here (in the S.League), its different because its more physical, so I'm going to have to get used to that and give my best every time I go out to play,” he said.
Asked if his father, legendary Singapore footballer and LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad had given him any advice before he took to the field, Irfan replied with a smile: “He just told me to do my best.”