Amri tips half-brother Nizam to lead Lions’ Suzuki Cup charge
That left a half-fit Khairul Amri as the only proven forward in the national set-up, but the 31-year-old has not had a consistent season, with injuries plaguing him throughout the year.
However, the Garena Young Lions striker waved off any concerns about Singapore’s lack of firepower, stating Singapore still had raw gem Sahil Suhaimi and star utility Safuwan Baharudin to call upon.
He also tipped his brother Khairul Nizam to make an impact on the regional stage, provided he can maintain his fitness and force his way back into interim coach V.Sundramoorthy’s plans.
Nizam has scored seven goals for Home United this season, and was called up by Sundram for the last match against Cambodia, but his lack of match fitness this time aound has counted against him for the Bahrain friendly (being played Friday morning, SG time).
“There's no pressure on me, because there are a few players who can deliver,” Amri told FourFourTwo. “There is Sahil, Safuwan and I think Khairul Nizam.
“If he knows how to take care of himself, he will be able to do something in the tournament.”
Nonetheless, Amri was still confident he could help contribute to Singapore’s cause if it came down to it, pointing to the title-winning 2012 Suzuki Cup as an example.
I will go into the tournament with the same mindset like when I won the Suzuki Cup
“I will go into the tournament with the same mindset like when I won the Suzuki Cup,” Amri shared. “The first game will be important, to get me going. I want to have a good first game and build from there.
“My main priority is to get my fitness level up again and of course be injury free. I hope not to miss any more training because it will only help me do better.
“It has been disruptive but I’ve been through this in 2012. I came back from a long ACL injury, but it was difficult still. This time around, the injury time is shorter and I will try to manage.”
Amri will also welcome the international friendly against Bahrain, believing it can help him and his national teammates get into shape.
However, he believes he is at the age where he needs to play with more brains than brawn, especially since the competition is fast approaching and he does not want to be hit with any unexpected injury set-backs.
Wth two-to-three months till the Suzuki Cup, we need these kind of games to get our level going up
“Bahrain will give us a good, high-tempo game. We need these type of games,” he said. “We are left with two-to-three months till the Suzuki Cup and we need these kind of games to at least get our level going up.
“What we want to achieve now that all the regulars are back, we want to get our teamwork together and familiarise. That's what we need and of course to improve our physical shape for the international stage.
“What makes the difference for me now is the experience, I have played in many matches and you know how your body feels, you have to set how you want to play.
"For me, I will assess the situations and now only make the important runs.”
Photos: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwo