A large proportion of the supporters of FC Groningen buzzing in the past ten days the excitement through the veins. Fandi Ahmad (56), the ‘Pearl of the East’ that between 1983 and ‘85 became the hero of the Oosterpark, was back in the north. And he had his two sons, Irfan (20), and Ikhsan (18). They were on trial. Get the Groningen supporters in the long term a touch of Fandi?
Fandi Ahmad with sons Irfan (l.) and Ikhsan.
Early in the week to see how much the return of Fandi triggers. Those arriving at Corpus Den Hoorn, the training complex of the club, must be even with the eyes blink. The training of the first team by a mere handful of visitors followed. Which of the promises, where Fandi along side the achievements of his sons are watching, by dozens.
“For the people of 45 years and older here in Groningen is he really a hero,” says former FC Groningen player Henk de Haan, who always contact kept with Fandi and the trial of the sons in the order made. “Even if we see through the Albert Heijn walk like there are people on the photo. Hotel stays are paid for, there are dinners arranged while he is here, but two years has played.”
Photo with Cruyff and Van Basten
Men and women emit when they are with Fandi on the photo. The ‘hello, how are you? ” sounds off no mouth so cheerfully as that of the cheerful Fandi. The people in Groningen are very much hoping that the two eldest of five Fandi descendants the talent of their father in the genes. Fandi senior was the beginning of the eighties on trial at Ajax. He is still on the photo with Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten. A three-year contract he left because he wanted to go to Asia. He went to play football in Indonesia. Not much later he was still in the Netherlands, when former president Renze de Vries him to FC Groningen took. He made shortly after his arrival, the 2-0 in the years that Groningen made his debut in Europe, against Internazionale to the UEFA Cup, as team-mate of current technical manager Ron Jans. That continued after seeing images with the scouting, the signals on green for a trial of his sons.
The sons of Fandi Ahmad during the training with the promises of FC Groningen.
“Another son (15) is studying in England and playing there for a collegeteam”, says De Haan. “Fandi! He also comes to Groningen?” The man who in 2003 was elected in the ‘team of the century’ of Groningen and the best footballer is that Singapore has ever known, smiling broadly: “Hopefully.” De Haan: “They are the Beckham family from Singapore mentioned,” he says, enthusiastic about the central defender (Irfan) and the creative attacker (Ikhsan). “Everyone thinks that the small Asian males are, but they are 1 meter 89, and 1 meter 82. They are truly giants in Singapore.”
They both just one and a half years ‘ military service in their homeland and are now free to use their wings. Fandi wants his sons to Europe to play and that should start in Groningen. “I hope that it succeeds. They do it well and enjoy it,” says Fandi in a mix of Dutch and English. “All they train here twice a day, that they are not used to. This week they should be back again, because they play at the end of march with the national team a kwalificatieduel for the Asian Cup (against Chinese Taipei, red.). This is a wonderful experience.”
For the duel with PEC Zwolle drew dozens of supporters to their heart. The Rooster in the supportershome of FC Groningen will be a meet&greet organised. With Fandi and his sons on the stand, the club promptly his first win of 2018. “He is still our geluksmannetje,” laughs The Cock, which tells that the sons like nothing better than ever himself on the field of the Noordlease stadium.
Tuesday played the two have a practice duel with Under 19 and they had an evaluation meeting. “That was very positive, but there is still no decision taken. Hopefully, they may in the summer is a time to come back, if they completely fit in,” says De Haan. That sat there now after one and a half years ‘ military service. The Rooster also know that Groningen is difficult for players from outside the EU (by the associated salary) directly to the binding. “But perhaps as much as los, that parties want to invest to these guys at Groningen. Two new Fandi’s, wouldn’t that be wonderful?”