Pain is often a strong deterrent, but it can also be a powerful motivator in some cases. Just ask LionsXII striker Khairul Amri. Ask him about the severe injuries he has suffered – one after another over the past five years.
Ask him about the heartbreak of losing the 2012 Malaysia Cup semi-final, his last appearance in a LionsXII shirt, on penalties. These are all painful memories, but also the ones that will drive him forward during his second spell with the reigning Malaysian Super League champions.
“It’s a new challenge for me and I’m looking forward to it,” the Singapore international said.
The 28-year-old, back in the LionsXII fold after helping Tampines Rovers clinch the Great Eastern-Yeo’s S-League title last season, is expected to shoulder the scoring burden, following Shahril Ishak’s move to Johor Darul Takzim II.
Although Amri faces competition for the role of main striker from Sufian Anuar, Shahfiq Ghani and Syafiq Zainal, coach Fandi Ahmad has high hopes for the only local-born player to hit double digits (12) in the S-League last season.
“I hope that, barring any injury, he can perform,” he said. But Amri, after all those times he has spent in the treatment room, is more circumspect in his targets.
He insisted: “We can’t pin all our hopes on one player. My main concern is to play as many matches as possible. As long as I’m playing regularly, the goals will come.”
And as much as finding the back of the net will thrill him, the LionsXII’s No. 19 is just as excited about the prospect of being cheered on by 7,500 fans on a weekly basis.
“I’m so looking forward to playing in front of the Jalan Besar Stadium crowd,” he said. “It’s what I really enjoy; something that gives me goosebumps.”
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