Oct 06, 2016

    Amri aims to break duck against S'pore

    AT 35, Malaysian footballer Amri Yahyah has had a long illustrious career which includes domestic and regional titles for club and country.

    The sudden retirement of national captain Safiq Rahim in July led to another personal honour for the veteran forward, as national coach Ong Kim Swee appointed Amri to be his on-field lieutenant.

    It is a responsibility the Johor Darul Takzim forward is relishing as he prepares to lead the Tigers out tomorrow at the National Stadium against bitter rivals Singapore for the Causeway Challenge.

    Curiously, even though Amri has scored 13 times for his country, he has never found the net against the Lions.

    "Maybe Friday will be my lucky day," he told The Straits Times yesterday before the team's training session at Bishan Stadium.

    "But I don't really care as long as we win. Anyway, I contribute in other ways."

    Indeed he has. The last time both countries faced each other was in the final group game of the 2014 Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup.

    Hosts Singapore had one foot in the semi-finals with the score at 1-1 until Amri won a stoppage-time penalty and Malaysia proceeded to knock out the defending champions, prevailing 3-1.

    Ong's 25-man squad contains five new names to the international fold and only defender Shahrom Kalam (31), Norshahrul and Amri are over 30.

    Not that Amri, who is sporting a trendy mohawk hairstyle dyed silver, has trouble keeping up with the new generation.

    The five-time Malaysian Super League winner, who was part of the 2010 AFF Cup-winning side, does extra training sessions on his own to maintain his fitness and still retains that initial burst of pace to trouble defenders.

    He said: "We need the younger players to step up and prove they deserve to wear the jersey. They must show they are hungry, even in a friendly. To me, there is no such thing. I want to win every game."