Widely dubbed as "Singapore's schoolboy soccer sensation" during the Lion City Cup days, Fandi's name was chanted by the 30,000 fans in the National Satdium as he successfully orchestrated the victory of the first ever Lion City Cup in December 1977 against Malaysian state, Pahang. His remarkable performance in the Lion City Cup hugely impressed the locals and especially the media as the young, bashful Fandi garnered extensive media coverage.
The following year, after victorious debut, Fandi captained the U-16 Lion City Cup team and scored a total of eight goals in the tournament including two in the finals against Selangor, lifting the Lion City Cup once again.
"The Lion City Cup started in 1977 and being a part of the team that represented Singapore for the first time was a fantastic experience and one that I will never be able to forget. I think it is right to say that my footballing career started off with that tournament. The amount of exposure given to youths in the tournament was great because we had the chance to play against teams from abroad."
"The team was made up of players who were between 14 to 16 years old. Most of us did not have much experience playing in big tournament in front of a large crowd. We were naturally very nervous but eager at the same time about the Lion City Cup because we were just kids who loved to play football."
It might have been years ago, but Fandi's memories of the Lion City CUp are still fresh in his mind as he recounted the moments he had as a young footballer stepping into the majestic National Stadium filled with supporters cheering on the team.
"Looking back, the one thing I vivdly recall is the huge crowd and the thunderous cheers that came from close to 30,000 spectators. They were always there to show their support for the U-16 teams. It was such an adrenalin rush going on the pitch with the team. It must have been 35 years ago but the feeling of anxiety and happiness still comes back to me when I recall the Lion City Cup days."
Following in the footsteps of Fandi, selected by a panel of judges as most valuable players for their respective teams in the 24th Canon Lion City Cup, Adam Swandi and Amer Nazri have secured a training stint at the Ajax Academy after their notable performance in the recent tournament. Fandi states that the Lion City Cup is a fantastic platform for the talented youths in Singapore to gain exposure as well as training stints abroad.
"I feel very proud to have been in the pioneer batch of the Lion City Cup and that the tournament has continued after all these years. It is a great platform for the youths in Singapore to showcase their talents and get match experience at the same time. WIth Adam Swandi and Amer Nazri heading to Ajar for their training stint, it just proves that the Lion City Cup allows the youths in Singapore a chance to get noticed."