Ikhsan Fandi: European football is different and Raufoss stint will help me grow

Kelvin Leong Kelvin Leong

He is the first Singapore footballer to play in Norway and for Ikhsan Fandi, the move was never about money but to gain experience and better himself as a player.

Fandi Ahmad’s second-eldest son had a breakthrough season in 2018 with club and country before making a shock move to ply his trade in Norway with Raufoss IL.

A short trial in the last few weeks impressed the coaching staff enough to offer the 19-year-old a professional contract with the senior team.

The club won promotion from 2. Divisjon to OBOS-ligaen – the second-highest tier in Norwegian football – this year and Ikhsan explained his reasons for taking the road less traveled.

“European football is different so it will be a good learning experience for me along the way,” Ikhsan told FOX Sports Asia.

“It is every footballer’s dream to play in a top European league and this move brings me one step closer.

“Hopefully through the course of the season, scouts from the top leagues will be watching Raufoss and I can catch their eye.”

Singapore striker Ikhsan Fandi signs two-year deal with Norwegian club Raufoss

The team are currently in pre-season mode and Ikhsan knows the hard work has only just begun. His aim is to get up to speed with his teammates and contribute as much as he can on the pitch.

“It’s been great so far as the team have been very welcoming which makes me feel comfortable on and off the pitch. The weather is cold but it’s not really bugging me much,” he added.

“The football is more intense here so my main focus is to get my fitness on par with the rest of the players. Players here speak English so language has not been much of an issue.

“My target at Raufoss is to help the team as much as I can by scoring and creating goals. On a personal note staying injury-free and being at optimum level will be key.”

The OBOS-ligaen 2019 is set to kick off on in late march and Ikhsan could make his competitive debut in Raufoss’ opening game away to Nest-Sotra on March 31.