Fandi Ahmad



Fandi Ahmad (b. 29 May 1962, Singapore– )1 is a former Singapore national footballer. Regarded as one of Singapore’s most successful footballers, Fandi played for clubs in Singapore, Indonesia, Holland and Malaysia before going on to coach teams in Singapore and Indonesia. A popular player, Fandi was noted for his humility, talent and love for the game.2

Early life
As a child, Fandi and his family lived in the hospital attendant’s quarters at Woodbridge Hospital where his father Ahmad Wartam worked. Ahmad was a former Singapore national goalkeeper in the 1960s. To help his father make ends meet, Fandi sold nasi lemak on the hospital grounds.3

Fandi attended Yio Chu Kang Primary School and showed a keen interest in football as a child, eventually persuading his reluctant father to take him to Malaysia Cup matches and training sessions.4

Although Fandi started off as a goalkeeper like his father, he switched to an attacking midfield position under the advice of his teacher when he played for Yio Chu Kang Primary. A teacher then recommended that he and four teammates join the Milo Soccer Scheme for talented young footballers but his first application was unsuccessful. Fandi’s parents divorced when he was 12 years old, and he moved to a kampong in Jalan Eunos with his grandparents.5

Fandi then studied at Serangoon Gardens Secondary School and trained with the Kaki Bukit Constituency Sports Club. The club coach, Rahim Yati, encouraged him to try for the Milo Soccer Scheme again, and this time Fandi was accepted. He continued his education at the Singapore Vocational Institute, where he earned a National Trade Certificate 3 qualification in 1979.6

Early football career
By the time he was 15, Fandi had become a regular for the Singapore Malays team. In 1977, Fandi was vice-captain of the Singapore Under-16 national team that won the Lion City Cup youth tournament, with a newspaper report dubbing him “schoolboy soccer sensation”.7 In 1978, he became captain of the team which retained the Lion City Cup.8 In August that year, Fandi was called up for a national training tour of Russia, becoming the youngest footballer to represent Singapore.9

In January 1979, Fandi made his Malaysia Cup debut at the National Stadium against Malacca.10 Two months later, he scored his first Malaysia Cup goal in Singapore’s 2-1 win over Trengganu.11 However, the season ended with Singapore losing 2-0 to Selangor in the final.12 The following season, coach Jita Singh made Fandi a striker following the retirement of forwards Dollah Kassim and Arshad Khamis.13 This time, Fandi scored Singapore’s winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Selangor, before enlisting for National Service in September 1980.14 In 1981, Fandi turned professional, and was named Footballer of the Year by the Football Association of Singapore.15

International career
Fandi’s talent drew attention from abroad. By April 1981, there was interest from top Malaysian teams as well as Swiss club Young Boys of Berne and Argentina’s Boca Juniors. In February 1982, Jaap Reinders, a scout for the famous Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam, invited Fandi for a trial in Amsterdam. Impressed with Fandi’s performance during the three-week trial in July, Ajax offered him a three-year contract worth S$40,000 annually, but Indonesian club Niac Mitra countered with a higher offer of S$75,000.16


Fandi was inclined towards Ajax Amsterdam, but his family urged him to pick Niac Mitra instead. He eventually signed a one-year contract with the Indonesian club.17 While his stay there was a happy one, Fandi later acknowledged that not joining Ajax was the biggest mistake of his life.18

When his National Service ended, Fandi moved to Surabaya, Indonesia, in August 1982 to begin his football career with Niac Mitra. He had a successful stint there, scoring 13 goals in his first season as Niac Mitra won the Galatama League.19 In June 1983, he also helped Singapore to a Southeast Asian (SEA) Games silver medal.20

Fandi was negotiating a new offer from the Arab-Malaysia Bank from Malaysia when Dutch first division team FC Groningen offered him a contract in July 1983. He  signed a one-year contract with the Dutch club,21 and became the first Singaporean player to play and score in a European cup competition when he netted the second goal in Groningen’s 2-0 win over Inter Milan in October 1983. At the end of his first season in Holland, he had scored 10 goals in 29 games, and was voted the most popular and most valuable player by Groningen fans in 1984.22

In 1984, Fandi renewed his contract with Groningen, but his second season with the club was not a happy one due to injuries, loss of form and a poor working relationship with the coach.23 His contract was not renewed for another season, and Fandi left Groningen in early 1985.24 Despite the brevity of his stay there, Fandi is still regarded fondly by Groningen fans.25 In 1994, Groningen invited Fandi to play for the club again, but he rejected the offer partly due to his age and partly due to his intention to help the Singapore team win the Malaysia Cup.26 In 1999, Fandi was voted into Groningen’s Hall of Fame as one of the club’s 25 best players. In 2003, he was named the club’s best XI for the 20th century.27

Return to the Malaysia Cup
After Fandi left Groningen in 1985, he returned to Southeast Asia and signed a two-year contract with the City Hall Sports Club of  Kuala Lumpur.28 His career in the Malaysian capital was a success, as he lifted the Malaysia Cup thrice in succession from 1987 to 1989.29


Outside the Malaysian League season, Fandi helped Singapore win silver medals in the 1983, 1985 and 1989 SEA Games.30 Fandi's final SEA Games appearance was in 1997 in Jakarta.31

In June 1990, Fandi signed a two-year contract with Greek division one champion OFI Crete, and left for Crete in July. However, he failed to settle there and left the club after seven weeks.32 In 1991 he joined Malaysian side Pahang on a two-year, S$12,000-a-month contract,33 and helped Pahang win the Malaysian League and Cup in 1992. That year, newspaper reports dubbed Fandi Singapore’s first millionaire sportsman.34

Fandi returned to Singapore in 1993, and signed a two-year contract with the Football Association of Singapore.35 His goals led Singapore to the Malaysia Cup final that year, where they lost to Kedah.36 For captaining Singapore to the Malaysia League and Cup trophies, Fandi was awarded the Public Service Medal in August 1994.37 This was Singapore’s as well as Fandi’s final year of participation in the Malaysia League and Cup, as Singapore subsequently pulled out of the tournaments.38

Later career
In 1996, Fandi signed a five-year, S$1 million deal with sporting goods chain Royal Sporting House to become an ambassador for its products.39 He also signed for Geylang United in Singapore’s newly-formed professional football league, the S.League, and captained Geylang to the inaugural S.League title.40 That year, he also hosted a television series, Meniti Pelangi, for charity and released a music album, Anugerah, which sold about 10,000 copies.41

Besides endorsements and appearances, Fandi also undertook several other ventures off the field, mainly through his company Fandi Ahmad International, which he had set up in 1993. His business investments included a used car dealership and restaurants, but these were  unsuccessful.42

In 1997, Fandi joined Singapore Armed Forces Football Club (SAFFC), winning the S.League and Singapore Cup that year and the league title in 1998. He retired from the Singapore national team at the end of 1997.43 In December 1999, he became coach of SAFFC.44 He led the club to S.League titles in 2000 and 2002, and was voted Coach of the Year in 2000.45

In January 2003, Fandi became the national team’s assistant coach. His tenure with SAFCC also ended that year.46 In November 2006, Fandi signed on as head coach of Indonesian club Pelita Jaya.47 He left the club in early 2010 to take care of his wife, Wendy Jacobs, who was recovering from a fall.48 In December 2010, Fandi was appointed the Genova International Soccer School’s project manager for Asia,49 and in 2011, he became a scout for Italian football club Vicenza Serie B.50

In March 2011, Fandi set up the Fandi Ahmad Academy for young footballers.51 In the same month, he also launched a fitness book for kids titled Optimal Fitness: For Junior Champions Ages 7–17, which he co-authored with Rano Izhar Rahmat, a former bodybuilder and sports trainer.52 In May 2011, the Sembawang Soccer Academy was launched which appointed Fandi as its director of youth development.53

Family54
Parents: Ahmad Wartam and Semiah Ismail.
Siblings: Fazli (brother) and Faridah (sister).
Wife: Wendy Jacobs, former South African model (married in 1996).
Children: Irfan, Iksan, Iman, Ilhan and Iryan.



Author

Alvin Chua




References
1. Ida Bachtiar. (1992, December 21). Fandi fanfare. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Fandi is too nice for his own good. (2006, November 12). The Straits Times, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. A switch puts star Fandi in new role. (1994, October 26). The Straits Times, p. 31; Fandi is too nice for his own good. (2006, November 12). The Straits Times, p. 37; Raymond, J. (2007, June 27). A superstar’s sacred ground. Today, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Yeo, W. (1993). The Fandi Ahmad story. Singapore: Brit Aspen Pub, pp. 9, 15. (Call no.: RSING 796.334092 YEO)
5. Yeo, W. (1993). The Fandi Ahmad story. Singapore: Brit Aspen Pub, pp. 14,16–17. (Call no.: RSING 796.334092 YEO)
6. Yeo, W. (1993). The Fandi Ahmad story. Singapore: Brit Aspen Pub, pp. 19–20. (Call no.: RSING 796.334092 YEO)
7. Yeo, W. (1993). The Fandi Ahmad story. Singapore: Brit Aspen Pub, pp. 20–21. (Call no.: RSING 796.334092 YEO); Yeo, W. (1978, August 16). Fandi: A future more illustrious than Zainal’s. The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Yeo, W. (1993). The Fandi Ahmad story. Singapore: Brit Aspen Pub, p. 20. (Call no.: RSING 796.334092 YEO)
9. Dorai, J. (1978, August 25). Fandi, Koh shine on Russia tour. The Straits Times, p. 29. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Yeo, W. (1993). The Fandi Ahmad story. Singapore: Brit Aspen Pub, pp. 7, 23. (Call no.: RSING 796.334092 YEO)
10. Dorai, J. (1979, January 9). Discipline – Fandi’s second name. The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Low, J. (1979, March 12). 2-goal brilliance. New Nation, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Low, J, (1979, June 17). Disputed goal gives Selangor Cup. New Nation, p. 32. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Yeo, W. (1993). The Fandi Ahmad story. Singapore: Brit Aspen Pub, p. 26. (Call no.: RSING 796.334092 YEO)
14. Fandi is too nice for his own good. (2006, November 12). The Straits Times, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Yeo, W. (1993). The Fandi Ahmad story. Singapore: Brit Aspen Pub, p. 31. (Call no.: RSING 796.334092 YEO)
15. Fandi is too nice for his own good. (2006, November 12). The Straits Times, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Yeo, W. (1993). The Fandi Ahmad story. Singapore: Brit Aspen Pub, pp. 36–37, 46. (Call no.: RSING 796.334092 YEO)
17. Dorai, J. (1982, August 26). Why Fandi took up the $75,000 offer. The Straits Times, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Dorai, J. (1994, May 30). From office boy to pin-up boy – but there are more goals yet for Fandi. The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Edwards, N. (1998, May 17). Top Singapore soccer star espouses humility. Reuters News. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
19. Yeo, W. (1993). The Fandi Ahmad story. Singapore: Brit Aspen Pub, p. 49. (Call no.: RSING 796.334092 YEO)
20. Fandi is too nice for his own good. (2006, November 12). The Straits Times, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Fandi goes Dutch. (1983, July 11). The Straits Times, p. 39; Jalleh, K. (1983, July 19). Inside story. Singapore Monitor, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Fandi's European exploits. (2008, July 13). The Straits Times, p. 44; Fandi is too nice for his own good. (2006, November 12). The Straits Times, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Khoo, P. (1990, June 16). Fandi signs for Greek club OFIThe Straits Times, p. 37; Siow, P. (1985, January 31). Why Fandi must leave. The Straits Times, p. 43. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Groningen: It’s all over, Fandi. (1985, 10 February). The Straits Times, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Fandi's European exploits. (2008, July 13). The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
26. Fandi turns down offer to re-join Groningen. (1994, July 7). The Straits Times, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
27. Fandi's European exploits. (2008, July 13). The Straits Times, p. 44. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
28. Dorai, J. (1985, August 25). Fandi signs for City Hall. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
29. Fandi is too nice for his own good. (2006, November 12). The Straits Times, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. Chan, T.C. (2001, December 28). Seven to be inducted into Hall of Fame. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
31. Gulam, S. (1997, February 25). Fandi Ahmad: If you say so, I'll go… The New Paper, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
32. Khoo, P. (1990, June 16). Fandi signs for Greek club OFI. The Straits Times, p. 37; Yeo, W. (1990, October 12). Fandi owns up, pays $51,000 for release. The Straits Times, p. 38. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
33. Dorai, J. (1994, May 30). From office boy to pin-up boy – but there are more goals yet for Fandi. The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
34. Ida Bachtiar. (1992, December 21). Fandi fanfare. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
35. Fandi is too nice for his own good. (2006, November 12). The Straits Times, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
36. Lions had the latent-but lacked tenacity and tactics. (1993, December 5). The Straits Times, p. 39. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
37. Fandi is too nice for his own good. (2006, November 12). The Straits Times, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
38. Sponsors: We will continue to fund local soccer. (1995, February 23). The Straits Times, p. 31; Shahiron Sahari. (1995, February 24). Short-term pain but long-term gain. The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
39. Wang, M. M. (2007, July 1). Super striker, poor salesman. The New Paper, p. 49. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
40. Fandi is too nice for his own good. (2006, November 12). The Straits Times, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
41. Fund and show. (1997, July 3). The New Paper, p. 10; Lim, R. (1996, May 21). Fandi tackles success and moments to cherish in album. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
42. Wang, M. M. (2007, July 1). Super striker, poor salesman. The New Paper, p. 49. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
43. Fandi is too nice for his own good. (2006, November 12). The Straits Times, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
44. Humphreys, N. (1999, December 4). Fandi is now Warriors’ coach. The Straits Times, p. 110. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
45. Raymond, J. (2006, November 6). He’s packing his bags, again. Today, p. 40; Ho. S. (2003, April 9). Blazing a new trail. Today, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
46. Chia, H. K. (2003, October 21). Fandi’s SAFFC tenure ends. The Straits Times, p. 33; Lim, M. (2003, January 7). Poulsen quits; Fandi is assistant coach. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
47. Lim, L. (2007, January 5). Kadir to join Fandi at Indonesia’s Pelita. The Straits Times, p. 44; Raymond, J. (2006, November 6). He’s packing his bags, again. Today, p. 40. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
48. Murali, S. (2010, October 17). Give up my career for my kids? Well…. The New Paper, p. 23. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
49. Sazali Abdul Aziz. (2011, October 14). Soccer saga. The New Paper. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
50. Football: Overseas exposure good for Singapore footballers, says Fandi. (2011, March 9). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

51. Wendy’s illness. (2013, February 2013). The New Paper; Lee D. (2013, September 29). F-17's aim: Scholarships for youth footballers. The New Paper. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

52. Football: Overseas exposure good for Singapore footballers, says Fandi. (2011, March 9). Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Fandi Ahmad, F., & Rano Izhar Rahmat. (2011). Optimal fitness: For junior champions, ages 7–17. Singapore: -s.n. (Call no.: RSING 613.7180835 FAN)
53. Sazali Abdul Aziz. (2011, October 14). Soccer saga. The New Paper. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
54. Norenshah Sahari. (1996, May 29). Football – for kicking, Oversleeping – a waste of time. The New Paper, p. 56; Fandi is too nice for his own good. (2006, November 12). The Straits Times, p. 37. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resource
The seventeen connection: Fandi 17. (1995). Singapore: Fandi Ahmad International.

(Call no.: RSING 796.33405 SC)



The information in this article is valid as at 2011 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
 

Subject
Sports, recreation and travel>>Ball games>>Football
Football players--Singapore--Biography
Personalities
Fandi Ahmad, 1962-
Personalities>>Biographies