Football

Amri confident of clicking with Sahil in attack

Red-hot Amri will get a partner tonight, and wildcard Sahil could prove a hit

He has grown accustomed to toiling alone up front.

But Singapore hotshot Khairul Amri could have a strike partner for tonight's World Cup/Asian Cup Group E qualifier against Cambodia at the National Stadium.

The New Paper understands national coach Bernd Stange is considering handing young striker Sahil Suhaimi a starting berth against the Angkor Warriors, as he tries to get his side firing.

Even if Sahil does not make the starting 11, midfielder Safuwan Baharudin is expected to have an advanced role just behind Amri.

Amri, a recently-minted centurion after picking up his 100th international cap in a friendly against Qatar on Aug 29, believes a partnership with 23-year-old Sahil could click.

The 30-year-old, who scored his fifth international goal in nine games in the 1-0 win over Afghanistan last Thursday, seems to have a soft spot for the youngster.

"In my opinion, Sahil can be much better running without the ball," said Amri. "Now, he likes to receive the ball to feet. I was like that too when I was young.

"But Raddy (Avramovic, former national coach) used to scold me a lot for that and, over time, I learned it's better to run behind the defence.

"You get the ball, you're already past the defender, you're more dangerous."

INSTINCT

Amri does not want Sahil to lose the instinct that saw him touted as one of Singapore's brightest young strikers when he emerged on the scene two years ago.

"Sahil can be a very good striker, in time," he said.

"I don't want him to change completely.

"But it would help him if he could add more variety to his game."

Sahil made his senior international debut against Laos in October 2013, but has yet to open accounts for the Lions in 10 attempts.

He has had a start-stop season at club level with the LionsXII, with coach Fandi Ahmad often using him off the bench.

Since his international debut in 2004, Amri has been scoring the goals when it mattered, most notably in three AFF Suzuki Cup finals which Singapore won in 2005, 2007 and 2012.

He said he has faith the current crop of youngsters like Sahil, and winger Faris Ramli, who he feels can make the step up and thrive at international level.

"Even for me, it took time," Amri stressed.

"You guys at The New Paper wrote the other day, I scored my first 15 goals for the national team after nine years, but the next 15 have come in the last two.

"Yes, the expectation on young players in the national team is sometimes not fair. But, in some ways, when you are playing for the country, you have to expect it.

"We have talented players.

"But you need an experienced head in international games - and the quicker they learn, the better."



Sahil can be a very good striker, in time... it would help him if he could add more variety to his game.

— Khairul Amri, on Sahil Suhaimi



Singapore striker Khairul Amri has scored five goals in his last nine international games.

khairul amriSahil SuhaimiSingaporeCambodiaWorld Cup