Home United’s game against Balestier this weekend will most likely be Irfan and Ikhsan Fandi’s last match for some time, as they are due to report for National Service (NS) the following week, FourFourTwo has learned.
The brothers are currently in Iran with the Singapore under-21 squad, where they will take on their Iranian counterparts in two friendly matches.
When we signed them, we already knew they were going to enlist soon. We are prepared for it
Irfan could also make his debut for the senior team, which is also in Iran to take on Afghanistan in its final Group E World Cup/Asian Cup qualifying game, Bernd Stange revealed last week.
There has been some conflicted information about the actual date their NS will commence, but it’s understood to be between April 7-9.
Despite the loss of the star brothers, Home coach Philippe Aw believes it is actually a good thing, although he will miss the duo’s attacking talents for at least a few months as they go through their Basic Military Training.
“When we signed them, we already knew they were going to enlist some time soon. This applies to our other youngsters as well so we are prepared for it,” Aw told FourFourTwo.
“Physically they will come out stronger, and as you and me know, NS also builds character and your mental strength, so it’s a good thing for them.
“It’s good for them to enlist earlier; the sooner they complete their obligations the faster they can go to Europe and hopefully be a success there.”
Aw is also confident the duo will not be distracted by their impending enlistment, as he stated he would play them both, provided they were match fit for the game against the Tigers.
“They will be coming back from Iran on Thursday, so If they are fresh and ready, they can play,” Aw added.
“Ikhsan had three good chances in the last game but the goalkeeper saved all the shots, so maybe if he gets to play, I hope he scores.
“But I don't want to put pressure on them, I think we always forget, but these two are so young that we should not be placing so much expectations on them.”
Photos: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo