Fandi Ahmad delighted with Ikhsan’s maiden goal for Singapore

Singapore coach Fandi Ahmad believes his decision to opt for youth in his first game in charge of the Lions is vindicated, with his second son Ikhsan Fandi netting his first international goal to earn them a 1-1 draw against Mauritius on Friday night at the Bishan Stadium.

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Fandi selected a bold line-up for his first game in charge with an average age of 25 – dishing out debuts to brothers Zulqarnaen Suzliman and Zulfadhmi Suzliman, while starting Ikhsan upfront ahead of the much more experienced Khairul Amri.

There were no players above 30 in the starting eleven, with the likes of Hassan Sunny, Baihakki Khaizan, Shahril Ishak and Khairul Amri all only introduced at certain stages of the second half.

“For me, age is not a barrier,” explained Fandi at the post-match press conference. “Everybody has to buck up and be on their toes to be in the starting eleven.

“You can see the few boys really went for it until one of them (Zulqarnaen) had cramps – he had a superb game and managed to go toe-to-toe against their very fast left winger. We have to give opportunities to these youngsters and this is great for our football to have these options.

“They were initially a bit shy when they just came into the team, so we spoke to them individually to make them feel comfortable. They showed in the game that they have no fear and we have faith that we made the right choice.”