Fandi Ahmad (born 29 May, 1962) is a football coach and former professional footballer from Singapore. During his playing career, he enjoyed success playing in both Europe and Asia, and was captain of the Singapore national football team (1993–97). He is considered by many to be Singapore's best-ever football player. His most regular playing position was that of striker, though he also sometimes played in midfield.
In 1978, at the age 16, Fandi then became the youngest-ever player ever to play for the Singapore national team (a feat erased in 2007 by young starlet Hariss Harun). In 1980 he was a member of the Singapore representative side which won the Malaysia Cup. He scored the winning goal in the final, where Singapore beat arch rivals Selangor 2-1.
In 1982, Fandi was offered a place at Ajax Amsterdam after a trial, but he rejected it due to his difficulties adapting to the language and lifestyle. Instead he chose to return to Asia and joined Niac Mitra in Indonesia.
In 1983, Fandi did move to the Netherlands, where he played for FC Groningen from 1983 to 1985 in the Dutch football league (Eredivisie). Prior to his arrival, Groningen had qualified for European football for the first time, and Fandi helped them in a dramatic European debut season by scoring in a shock 2-0 second round, first-leg win over Italian giants Inter Milan. During the 1983-84 season, Fandi scored 10 times in 29 games. While in his second season at the club, Fandi made 15 appearances, scoring 2 goals. Fandi made a big impact on the Groningen fans, in 1999 he was voted one of the best 25 players ever to play for FC Groningen, earning him a place in the club's Hall of Fame. In 2003, he was named in the club's best eleven of the twentieth century.
Although Fandi was offered a place again at Ajax Amsterdam, he chose to return to Asia in 1986. (He has since said that he regretted not further plying his trade in Europe. Nottingham Forest made an informal enquiry about his availability in the late-1990s, but decided he was too old.)
Fandi's played for Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia from 1986 to 1990, helping them win the Malaysia Cup three times in 1987, 1988 and 1989. He also won the Malaysian Golden Boot Award in 1988. He then joined OFI Crete in Greece in 1990. But this stint in Europe lasted only a few months, and he returned to Malaysia to join Pahang in 1991, and helped them win the Malaysian League and Malaysia Cup double in 1992.
In 1993, Fandi returned to Singapore to play for the Singapore side in the Malaysian League. That year he tasted Malaysia Cup final defeat for the first time when Singapore were beaten 2-0 by Kedah. But the following year, with Fandi as captain, Singapore won the Malaysian League and Malaysia Cup double, and Fandi scored in the Malaysia Cup final as Singapore routed his former side Pahang 4-0.
1994 was Singapore's last year of involvement in the Malaysian competitions, as the Football Association of Singapore decided to withdraw and focus on developing its own domestic tournaments.
In 1996, Singapore's new S.League was launched and Fandi captained Geylang United to winning the inaugural S. League championship title. Following that he moved to the Singapore Armed Forces Football Club (SAFFC) and captained them to winning the S. League title in 1997 and 1998. He then became SAFFC's coach and guided them to winning the S. League again in 2000.
However, his contribution to Singapore football has not been recognised by FIFA, who have not included Fandi as one of Singapore's members in the Centurion Club.
|Singapore (Malaysia Cup team)||1978-1982|
|Kuala Lumpur FA||1986-1990|
|Singapore (Malaysian League team)||1993-1995|
|Geylang United FC||1996|
|Singapore Armed Forces FC||1997-1998|
Fandi's first coaching job was at SAFFC, who he guided to winning the S. League title in 2000.
Fandi was appointed a Council Member of the Football Association of Singapore in 2001, becoming the youngest person and the first former international player to achieve this. He continued to coach professionally in Singapore and served as Assistant Coach of the Singapore team which won the regional Tiger Cup competition in 2005. He also coached the national under-23 team and the Young Lions in the S.League.
Fandi is the son of Ahmad Wartam, who was goalkeeper in the 1960s for Singapore's national football team.
Two of Fandi's five children, Irfan and Ikshan, albeit only 10 and 8 years old respectively, has been tipped to make it big in the football scene in Singapore. This comes after the pair received glowing reviews from Spanish scouts at AC Milan's junior training camp in Malaga, Spain. Also, both were invited to play in 2 of Valencia CF's academy team games.