Birthday boy Ikhsan ready to defend Singapore

Ikhsan Fandi is about to undergo the rite of passage every Singaporean son is obligated to once they are of age and enter National Service (NS). FourFourTwo caught up with him just before he did so...

It’s easy to forget that Home United forward Ikhsan Fandi will only be turning 17 this Saturday, April 9.

I am a bit nervous, ‘cause I don't know what to expect

- Ikhsan Fandi

Standing 1.80m tall, Ikhsan already resembles a young adult with his chiseled jaw and exotic features, courtesy of his famous parents, former Singapore international Fandi Ahmad and South African-born model Wendy Jacobs.

But you soon realise Ikhsan is still a boy trying to find his way in the world, especially when he shared his feelings on his impending enlistment to the army, which falls on his birthday.

“I am a bit nervous, ‘cause I don't know what to expect, but I think everything is going to be OK,” Ikhsan said with a chuckle in an interview with FourFourTwo at Home’s Bishan Stadium.

“I am just scared I am going to get tekan (colloquial expression of being put under mental and physical pressure), but it's obviously going to happen.”

Despite Ikhsan’s tender age, Home head coach Philippe Aw has had no qualms about using him this season.

Man of the match for his hat trick against Liverpool last year

The teenager made his professional debut for Home United on Valentine's Day, coming on as an 85th-minute substitution for Khairul Nizam. He has since made three other cameos off the bench.

In his last appearance Ikhsan had an opportunity to score a hat-trick in the 14 minutes he spent on the pitch, but Young Lions keeper Benjamin Bertrand stopped him each time with three fine saves.

While he was wistful that he could not score his first professional goal before enlisting, Ikhsan said he was grateful Aw gave him a chance to play in the S.League.

“The experience has been good so far,” he shared. “I learned to move the ball faster and think quicker. Players are also a lot more aggressive so I have to be stronger physically. I learned a lot and now I know where I stand.

“Coach puts me in for a reason, and as an attacker my job is to score or assist, so that's where I want to help the team. That's my biggest regret, not being able to score yet.

“Hopefully, after BMT (Basic Military Training) I can come back to play more games to improve myself.”

Read on to learn about Ikhsan's fitness and father Fandi Ahmad's advice

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