Hamstrung Amri could be back for Syria match
Striker Amri ruled out for up to a month but could return for Japan and Syria qualifiers
Singapore's top striker Khairul Amri could return in time for the Lions' crucial World Cup/Asian Cup Group E qualifier against Japan at the National Stadium on Nov 12.
The 30-year-old, who has scored half of his 30 goals for the national team in the last two years, had a night to forget in Singapore's 2-1 win over Cambodia on Tuesday.
After missing a gilt-edged header in the 26th minute, he saw his 43rd-minute penalty saved by 18-year-old Cambodian goalkeeper Um Sereiroth.
To add insult to injury, the Lions player pulled his right hamstring as he struck the spot-kick, and was stretchered off the pitch and straight down into the tunnel.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) yesterday confirmed fears Amri would be out for almost a month.
Said its senior physiotherapist Nurhafizah Sujad: "Amri visited the specialist today, and is estimated to be out for three to four weeks.
"He suffered a strain on one of his hamstring muscles, but there was no obvious tear.
"He will now undergo intensive physiotherapy with active rehabilitation."
Amri hobbled out of the National Stadium on Tuesday night with his right thigh heavily strapped, aided by teammate Shahril Ishak.
He told The New Paper that he heard a "pop" while taking the penalty, and feared the worst - that he could have suffered a tear.
But he woke up yesterday feeling a little better, and could walk unaided, albeit with a limp.
It is now hoped Amri will be able to jog in a straight line in about two weeks, before he is able to work with the ball.
While this would mean he could recover in time for next month's games against Group E rivals Japan and Syria (Nov 17), it also rules him out of the LionsXII's next two Malaysia Cup games.
Fandi Ahmad's charges entertain Johor Darul Ta'zim II at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday, and have to travel north to play Terengganu on a date yet to be confirmed, although TNP understands it could be Oct 31.
In an FAS statement, Amri said: "I am disappointed to be injured at such a critical point of the season, especially since team spirit is high and all the players and officials are working well together.
"This unexpected injury late in the first half is particularly disappointing, but injuries are part and parcel of the game.
"I'm sad I can't play for the next few weeks, but I'll just focus on recovering well now.
"Thanks to my coaches, teammates, fans and the management for their words of support and encouragement.
"I look forward to coming back to action soon."
This unexpected injury late in the first half is particularly disappointing, but injuries are part and parcel of the game... I look forward to coming back to action soon.
- National striker Khairul Amri