Ilhan Fandi may not be as much of a known entity to fans of the local game but you can bet on that changing very soon.
After all, when you are the son of a Singapore legend in Fandi Ahmad and brother to two of the Republic’s brightest football stars–Ikhsan and Irfan Fandi, it can be hard to escape the limelight.
Just like his legendary father and famous brothers, Ilhan has chosen has to pursue football as a career and like most footballers, his attachment to adidas football boots – adidasX19.1 FG in particular, is telling of the brand's quality.
“(The Adidas X) is very light and comfortable, and when I am running, the comfort of the boots does not allow me to feel any pain while allowing me to get a solid connection when I am shooting. This is due to the soft material used in the boots."
Besides comfort, the footballing prodigy also believes that adidasX19.1 FG helps improve his overall game. The new-look X from the adidas Hard Wired Pack has been recrafted in a piercing blue, with the X logo on the boot’s heal and tip of the studs each highlighted in a strong magenta contrast.
“Nowadays speed is very important in football and because of adidasX’s unique design which causes the boot to be lightweight, that ultimately allows me to move faster.”
Indeed moving and thinking fast were two aspects Ilhan had to adopt quickly, especially during his stint in Europe; where the level of football was much higher.
"I matured much faster in Europe as I was playing with senior players considering I was one of the youngest”
"Also I had to work with foreign players and coaches which can be quite a challenge in itself too. In Europe, it is more physical and the pace is faster.”
While his European stint has allowed him to grow by leaps and bounds, Ilhan’s long-term goals are firmly set in Singapore, especially after signing a contract with Young Lions.
"My immediate priority would be to complete my NS (National Service) and I have just recently signed for Young Lions. So I am excited to finish NS and start playing.”
In signing for Young Lions, Ilhan would be the third Fandi to have turned professional, following in the footsteps of Ikhsan and Irfan–his two pillars of inspiration in the game.
"They (Irfan and Ikhsan) are very big inspirations to me as they have played at a higher level than me, so I look up to them,"
“I would always ask them for advice and even if I don’t they would be doling out advice to me; reminding to train harder, push harder and play faster."
Significantly, as a young footballer himself, Ilhan also has thoughts on how Singapore can improve the sport further so that more youths will be motivated to carve out a career as a professional footballer.
"The facilities (in Singapore) need to be better. Players need better facilities so that they can train better,”
“Also better football programmes are needed. Because nowadays when they (youths) reach 17 or 18, they tend to lose interest in football and so we need such programmes to keep them going."
Marc Ryan Tan
If there are two things similar between Ilhan Fandi and Marc Ryan Tan, it would be that both are sons of local footballing legends and their shared love for adidas football boots.
Despite only picking up football at the age of 10, the son of former Singapore striker Steven Tan has all the attributes to make it far in the sport especially when aided by the adidas Nemeziz19.1 FG. The silhouette has recently undergone a re-make and the latest adidas Hard Wired Pack sees the Nemeziz re-imagined in a bold magenta.
I love the colours of the adidas Nemeziz, it’s very vibrant and bright. (Also) it helps with my play; which is very quick and agile. I love to bounce here and there so the Nemeziz is very much suited for that.”
"The structure of the boot (adidas Nemeziz) is also more comfortable compared to previous models."
In talking to Marc, it is hard to escape the subject of his famous father; who has been a source of inspiration in his budding football career.
“He is an example for me. I always wanted to play like him, and also he always gives me tips and advice, so he is a huge role model for me.”
Thus it’s only natural that the 17-year-old has his sights set on playing for the national team; just like his father.
"I think if you start playing football, you always want to represent your country. It’s nice to put the colours even at the youth level."
"I want to play for the national team. 100%. As soon as I can."
And just like Ilhan, Marc also believes that major tweaks are needed if Singapore wants to keep its footballing culture alive so that there will always be a steady stream of young footballers coming through.
“I think we are missing a system where the school and the club are associated with each other."
"People over there are purely football-minded and study football in school. If the club needs the players to go training the school will allow it. Teachers will also chip in to help the footballer. I think this (support) is what we are missing in the local game."
The Hard Wired pack (NEMEZIZ 19.1 FG, X 19.1 FG, COPA 19.1 FG and PREDATOR 19.1 FG) and laceless versions (NEMEZIZ 19+ FG, X 19+ FG, COPA 19+ FG and PREDATOR 19+ FG) retails for SGD300 to SGD 400, and have arrived online at adidas.com.sg and exclusively at Weston Corporation stores since 23 July.
The full Hard Wired pack, including the junior versions (NEMEZIZ 19.1 FG, X 19.1 FG, COPA 19.1 FG andPREDATOR 19.1 FG), which retail at SGD 160, will be available at adidas Suntec and online at adidas.com.sg from 30 July.