The Lions have been dealt a huge blow ahead of their crucial World Cup/Asian Cup Group E qualifying double header at the National Stadium.
Bernd Stange's men will host mighty Japan next Thursday and then Syria five days later, but they will have to do so without top striker Khairul Amri, who has been ruled out for four weeks through injury.
The 30-year-old hotshot, who has scored five goals in his last 10 matches in a Singapore jersey, picked up a fresh hamstring injury just nine minutes into the LionsXII's 2-1 away win over Terengganu in a Malaysia Cup Group A on Wednesday.
Amri had previously injured his hamstring in a 2-1 win over Cambodia on Oct 13 and had been sidelined up till the Terengganu game, but the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) says the new injury is not related.
In response to The New Paper's queries, FAS senior physiotherapist Nurhafizah Sujad said yesterday: "Amri picked up a new strain at the medial side of the hamstring last night.
"It was a fresh injury and not related to the one he was diagnosed with on Oct 13.
"He is currently estimated to be out for four weeks to ensure he has ample time to recover."
TNP understands Amri visited a specialist yesterday afternoon, and initial scans showed the strain is in a different, lower area of his right hamstring.
The FAS insists Amri was medically cleared to play against Terengganu.
"Amri underwent the lower limb functional test and manual muscle test as well as a fitness test using the GPS system during his recovery from the earlier injury," explained Fizah. "The results of these tests - which were conducted between Oct 26 and 30 - concluded that he had recovered fully and he was subsequently cleared by the doctor to play in the match against Terengganu."
Going by FAS' prognosis, Amri will also miss the LionsXII's two-legged Malaysia Cup quarter-final against Pahang, on Nov 24 and 28.
His absence is a massive blow for the Lions, who are hoping to qualify for the Asian Cup for the first time.
Their only appearance in the tournament was as hosts in 1984.
After five qualifying matches, Singapore are lying third in Group E with 10 points, level with second-placed Japan, who have played a game less.
Group leaders Syria, who have also played five matches, have 12 points.
The other two teams in the group are Afghanistan and Cambodia.
The winners of each of the eight qualifying groups, and the four best runners-up, will earn an automatic spot at the 2019 Asian Games in the United Arab Emirates.
This article was first published on Nov 6, 2015.
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