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It might just be a pre-season friendly,but Ikhsan Fandi got off to a flying start on his professional European footballing journey, when he scored a goal just two minutes after coming on as a substitute.

Ikhsan, who is now the first Singaporean to play professional football in Europe in 30 years, scored in a friendly match between his team, Norwegian Second Division side Raufoss IL, and helped them record a 6-1 victory against third tier Norwegian team Elverum Fotball. The teams and the setting might have been miles away from when his father scored a famous goal for Groningen against Inter Milan, but this was a dream start nonetheless, and Ikhsan said that he hoped this would be the springboard for him to succeed in Europe. 

Ikhsan played for only 30 minutes in the match, and apart from his debut goal, he also helped set up another goal for his team. Ikhsan conceded that he still has a long way to go, and he has to vastly improve his fitness in order to compete for starting places. All the best, Ikhsan Fandi!

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) have made another wrong move in their catalogue of wrong moves in the football scene, by withdrawing its Singapore U22 football team from competing in the upcoming AFF U23 tournament.

The Asean Football Federation (AFF) have fined the FAS US $10,000 for their withdrawal. FAS cited the fact that the same team will participate in the Asian Football Confederation Under-23 qualifiers in March 2019 as their reason for withdrawal. They stated that coach Fandi Ahmad will focus all his attention and energy in building the team up for the qualifiers for tha AFC Tournament, instead of participating in an actual tournament they are already in. 

Fans were up in arms in this decision, as most see the AFC qualifiers as a no win game, while they see the AFF tournament as something the Singapore team can compete in well. The last time this tournament was held, Singapore reached the final, but was beaten by Thailand. 

Newly minted Singapore Badminton hero, Loh Kean Yew failed to make it two tournament wins in a space of one week when he fell to a defeat in the RSL Swedish Open final on Sunday.

Penang born Loh was beaten by Japanese shuttler Minoru Koga 21-11, 21-15. Loh had gained worldwide attention, and a cult status in Singapore, after he beat World and Olympic Champion Lin Dan from China in the Thailand Masters Final last week. However, despite reaching the final in the Swedish open after brushing aside 4 other opponents along the way, Loh fell short. 

Loh will return to Singapore and play in front of his new adoring public next week, when he takes part in the Singapore National Open Championship, scheduled form 26 January to 1 February.

News have emerged that the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) have called in the CPIB and have also fired one of its senior staff over reported procurement lapse within FAS itself.

FAS have confirmed that they have consulted CPIB and have also kept Sport Singapore informed about the lapse. They released a statement stating that a staff member had been found in breach of the FAS financial governance pertaining to conflict of interest, while employed at the FAS. FAS takes this matter seriously, and the staff member was told to leave the organization. 

The issue involved the staff being found guilty of various issues involving the procurement of services through an external service provider. It was reported online that the external party involved is All Resource Network, and it has been earning contracts from the FAS  over the last few years since it was incorporated. The staff who was fired was not named in any reports. 

Singapore finally had its first Badminton World Federation World Tour Crown when Loh Kean Yew beat China's World and Olympic champion Lin Dan. His win came in the Thailand Masters final.

Ken Yew, who was born in Penang and came to Singapore on a Foreign Sports Scholarship, beat Lin Dan in straight sets 21-19 and 21-18 in what is a surprise upset. He had beaten four other Chinese shuttlers on the way to the final, but Lin Dan is his biggest scalp ever. He took home a prize money of about S$15,000. Previously, Loh had won three bronze SEA Games medals, with two in the men’s singles and men’s team category in 2015, and one more bronze in 2017 in the men’s team category.

Singaporeans from all walks of life started congratulating him on his momentous achievement, and as expected, Ministers also jumped on the bandwagon to offer their congratulations. 

The man who brought down Singapore football from the heights of Raddy Avramovich trophy laden Lions to bashing boys of South East Asian football, Bernd Stange, have said in an interview that the current incarnation of the Lions have gone backwards.

Bernd Stange also called on the Singapore government and sports authorities to show a genuine desire to make football more professional in Singapore. To recap, Stange was head coach of the Lions for three years from 2013, and his stint included the Lions being knocked out in the 2014 AFF Cup in the group stages, even though they were playing at home. To defend his poor record, he slammed V Sundramoorthy, the local coach who took over his position, as playing a style of defensive football that is not right for the youngsters. He also said that current coach, Fandi Ahmad plays with a more fast passing style of football, which he said will also not work. 

Stange also subsequently blamed the authorities for not being able to provide pristine pitches in Singapore to play football, and the Singapore Premier League for having foreign teams that are too strong for the local teams. 

Anything to make Bernd Stange looks good, obviously. 

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