Irfan Fandi set for enlistment in early 2016

Irfan Fandi has decided to forgo a professional contract with Chilean side Universidad Catolica in order to complete National Service.

Irfan, who turned 18 in August and is the eldest son of Singapore legend Fandi Ahmad, was eligible to sign professional terms with Universidad Catolica.

But instead he has made the decision to enlist and complete National Service (NS) before continuing to chase his dream of playing overseas.

“The club actually offered me to stay and sign for them,” the lanky forward told FourFourTwo.  

The Chile experience is a whole different level

“It’s quite complicated actually. I’ve finished my IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) studies, which is equivalent to the O-Levels, and I was planning on going back and signing after the SEA Games.

“But I thought that if I stay there and they give me like a four-year contract, I still have to come back and serve NS – that will be a waste.

“So I’ve decided to at least finish NS first, then go back after I finish the two years.”

While Irfan hasn’t received his enlistment letter yet, he revealed that it is likely to be scheduled around early 2016.

“Right now I’m not exactly sure because my dad is handling all that,” he said. “Definitely there’s a slight worry of going for NS, but that’s just part of the life of being a Singaporean and I’ve to go through that.

“During that period, I will still train and play football because I still want to go back to playing overseas. Of course I’m also targeting to play at the 2017 SEA Games.”

Irfan has loved developing camaraderie with his young teammates

So far it has been an eventful 2015 for Irfan, who returned home to play for the Courts Young Lions and feature for the Singapore under-23s at the SEA Games.

While the SEA Games gold medal quest faltered, there has been no looking back for the National Football Academy (NFA) graduate.

“I have to say it’s been a pretty exciting journey,” he shared.

“The Chile experience is a whole different level, the players are really motivated to play and I learned a lot there, like how to give 100 per cent even in training.

“But there’s no regrets coming back; I joined this team where these guys are really fun and cool.

“They made me feel like this is a family and that’s how I like to play in a team – everybody has bonded really well and that’s where playing football is more enjoyable.”

Irfan underwent calf surgery in July and only recently returned to competitive action, scoring his first S.League goal in a 1-1 draw against Harimau Muda last week.

While admittedly not fully fit yet, he was pleased to hit the ground running.

“That was a really good goal,” he said beaming. “I waited really long for that after my operation and I’m looking forward to more goals in the near future.

“Right now, I’m still not fully 100 per cent fit yet, but I’m just really glad to be back in training and playing games.”