Amri in fitness race after double blow

Running up to take a penalty for the Lions against Cambodia on Tuesday, Khairul Amri misses and pulls his right hamstring in the process. It is a stroke of bad luck for the striker, who has scored 15 of his 29 international goals since coach Bernd St
Running up to take a penalty for the Lions against Cambodia on Tuesday, Khairul Amri misses and pulls his right hamstring in the process. It is a stroke of bad luck for the striker, who has scored 15 of his 29 international goals since coach Bernd Stange took charge in 2013.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

He's set to miss 2 World Cup qualifiers as well as 2 Malaysia Cup ties

After the double whammy of missing a penalty and pulling his hamstring in the process, Singapore national team striker Khairul Amri will now face three to four weeks without football.

This was confirmed by national team physiotherapist Nurhafizah Sujad, as the player faces a tough battle to recover in time for next month's crucial World Cup qualifiers against Japan (Nov 12) and Syria (Nov 17).

And the 30-year-old sharpshooter is definitely out of the LionsXII's final two Malaysia Cup group games against Johor Darul Takzim II on Saturday and Terengganu on Oct 27.

Nurhafizah said yesterday: "Amri visited the specialist today and is estimated to be out for a period of three to four weeks.

"He suffered a strain in one of his hamstring muscles but there was no obvious tear.

"He will now undergo intensive physiotherapy with active rehabilitation. After the second scan, he will hopefully be able to progress to straight-line jogging in about two weeks, followed by on-field rehab if all goes well."

For Amri, the injury came at an inopportune time. He said: "I am disappointed to be injured at such a critical point of the season, especially since the team spirit is high and all the players and officials are working well together.

"I'm sad I can't play for the next few weeks but I'll just focus on recovering well now."

Amri's moment of anguish happened in the 43rd minute of the Lions' 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over Cambodia at the National Stadium on Tuesday night.

The 30-year-old LionsXII striker clutched his right hamstring in pain after taking a penalty that was saved by goalkeeper Serei Rath. It was a stroke of bad luck for Amri, who is currently in consistent scoring form for the Lions. He has netted 15 of his 29 international goals during Bernd Stange's tenure, which began two years ago.

The player has a catalogue of injuries in the past. He had previously suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament, broken metatarsals in both feet, and pulled both hamstrings and groin muscles.

Curiously, all his injuries were never inflicted by tackles.

Amri will be sorely missed on Saturday, as JDT II, including Singapore internationals Baihakki Khaizan and Shahril Ishak , visit the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Said LionsXII head coach and national team assistant coach Fandi Ahmad: "It is definitely a big loss but we have to make do with what we have.

"We can't be too sad about it and we need to move on because football is like that; you get a lot of injuries but, hopefully, he can recover in time for the next qualifier."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2015, with the headline 'Amri in fitness race after double blow'. Print Edition | Subscribe