Singaporeans who went abroad: Fandi, Sundram … but you won’t know them all
Regarded as the finest footballer Singapore has ever produced, Fandi’s potential was spotted at a young age with Ajax Amsterdam reportedly offering him a three-year contract.
He, however, turned down the Dutch powerhouses due to homesickness and signed for Indonesian side Niac Mitra.
Fandi eventually made it to Europe in 1983, where he sealed a two-year deal with Dutch side FC Groningen. He scored 11 goals in 36 appearances and even scored against mighty Inter Milan in the UEFA Cup, but was eventually released by the club in 1985.
Fandi went on to play for Malaysian outfits Kuala Lumpur FA and Pahang FA, before seeing out his career in Singapore. He is still revered in Holland, after being voted by Groningen fans in 1999 as one of the club’s top 25 players in the 20th century.
Now 54, Fandi is a staff coach at the Football Association of Singapore and in charge of putting a team together to qualify for the 2018 Asian Games.
Football fans of this generation may not know this, but legendary goalkeeper Lee had also played for Indonesian side Niac Mitra from 1982 to 1983 – the same period when Fandi was playing for them.
Along with the latter, Lee helped the club to defend their Galatama League title and was awarded the honorary Citizenship of Surabaya for his efforts. He then returned to Singapore and was part of the 1994 Double-winning squad, before retiring in 1997.
Now 58, he is the Business Development manager of an unnamed waste management company.