- POSTED: 31 Jul 2014 14:59
- UPDATED: 12 Aug 2014 13:21
The deal, which will kick in with immediate effect, will cover both Irfan and Ikhsan's living expenses, schooling and training in Chile.
SINGAPORE: The sons of local football legend Fandi Ahmad have received a six-figure sponsorship deal from banking group CIMB to cover their living expenses, schooling and training in Chile.
The deal, which will kick in with immediate effect, marks the first time CIMB has sponsored Singapore football players. The sponsorship will last for a year, after which CIMB will review whether to continue its sponsorship on an annual basis.
Both Irfan and Ikhsan, 17 and 15 years old respectively, are currently with Universidad de Catolica, a club in the top tier of the Chilean league.
For Fandi, the deal will lift some of his financial burden. Since July last year, he said he had spent around S$80,000 to support their training abroad. "It's a big relief for us as a family. The last six months been very gruelling for us. We've been negotiating and what a surprise when we came back from Austria, they decided to do, agree on everything."
Meanwhile, the boys say their training in Chile has been beneficial. "I've learnt a lot to play faster with the new players and the coaches there have taught me a lot to be a better player," said Irfan. "Chile has been great, the football and studies have been great. I just hope I can play, start to get my playing time, play for the team already, score some goals," said Ikhsan.
At the signing ceremony held on Thursday (July 31), Mr Mak Lye Mun, Country Head of CIMB Group Singapore and CEO of CIMB bank Singapore, said: "We believe the nurturing of the region's talents is one of the best ways in giving back to the communities we live and operate in. "We are very proud of what Irfan and Ikhsan have achieved at such a young age and we hope that this sponsorship will propel these two Singapore homegrown talents to excel on the local and regional stages, and to flourish in the international arena as well."
Both boys have represented Singapore in international tournaments, including the Lion City Cup and Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, China. They have also just returned from a training stint in Austria as part of the National U-23 squad.
Fandi hopes his boys will continue playing in Chile before moving to Europe. "For the time being, they are very happy in Chile, South America because the football is very aggressive, the fitness level is very high. And I believe they should stay two, three years if there's opportunity and hopefully they can move to Europe."