Analysis

Fandi brothers’ last game for Young Lions before Portugal comes calling?

The Young Lions will be looking to push on and secure their best finish to a season in 10 years in their remaining four Singapore Premier League (SPL) matches, starting with Brunei DPMM on Wednesday.

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It’s been sort of a fun year for the Young Lions, who have defied all expectations to register 19 points this year, with four games to go. Sure, the team could have been in a better position given the superb start to the season they had, but as with all young teams, inconsistency is to be expected.

Incredibly, the Young Lions are in with a shout of securing fifth spot, which Warriors FC currently occupy and that represents a stark improvement from 2017, when they finished bottom of the table with just a solitary win.


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Much of the credit has to go to Head Coach Fandi Ahmad, who seem to have worked his magic once more after previously guiding the Young Lions to two third-place finishes in 2004 and 2006.

Having his two older sons – Irfan and Ikhsan – with him in the team has helped too. Afterall, the duo, together with midfielder Hami Syahin, have been integral to the team. Tasked to lead the team, Irfan has blossomed this year and it is without a doubt that Young Lions are a much stronger team when the centre-back is in the side, while Ikhsan has impressed in his second full season by netting six times in 13 outings.

Wednesday match against Brunei DPMM – who are chasing for the second spot – may well be the brothers’ last game of the year in the SPL though. Both have been invited for a trial with Portuguese club Braga and are slated to leave after the game against DPMM.

That could possibly provide the brothers with all the motivation they need, and a win against the Bruneian side will definitely give them a deserving send off in what has been the most exciting Young Lions season in recent years.

While it will be a tough task against DPMM, the Young Lions have already proved they can match the Bruenians, having came close to a securing three points in their first meeting of the season, which ended 1-1. In that game, it was Ikhsan who struck a wonderful goal to give the team the lead, only for Adi Said to peg them back late on.

Furthermore, a defeat against DPMM may allow Geylang International to climb above them in the standings and should that happen, it will surely be a pity considering how the Young Lions have performed this year.