Singapore national team players Ifran and Ikhsan Fandi are looking to trade in Asian football for a chance to make it in England with Leeds United, according to The Strait Times. Ifran, who is 20 years old, and Ikhsan, who is 18, finish national service in February and will be looking to go on trial with Leeds in March.
Fandi's sons, Irfan and Ikhsan, set for trials with Leeds https://t.co/WvnDazF0af— The New Paper (@thenewpaper) December 15, 2017
The brothers have reportedly turned down lucrative offers from Asian teams to try and make it in England with Leeds, with Ifran saying,
I feel confident about showing what I'm capable of as a defender, which I feel I have made a smooth conversion to from a forward.
I didn't feel and look out of place in the AFC Cup games and international matches I've played in this year, and it's a form of recognition when a top Thai team like Bangkok Glass are interested to sign me.
But my dream is to play in Europe, and while I think I can match the European players, I'm not going to sit back and I will be working hard to improve my strength before we go.
Leeds recently made an agreement with Japan international Yosuke Ideguchi, and like with Ideguchi, work permit issues might force the players to go on loan in order to qualify for the work permit, since Singapore’s FIFA ranking is at 170, and players from countries outside of the top 50 reportedly need approval on a case-by-case basis.
Fandi Ahmed, the brothers’ father and a Singapore team legend, also said that if the trial or deal doesn’t work out for the brothers at Leeds, that he would seek a deal elsewhere in Europe for them, as he’s had contacts with clubs in The Netherlands and in some of the Scandinavian countries.
Will these two players make it at Elland Road? The work permit issues are certainly strict and difficult, but if they show enough promise and a loan deal works out, they might make the club in a few years. Even if they don’t end up making it in England, it’s good to see the club look literally across the globe for talent.