Suzuki Cup: Been there, done that, but Amri wants more

Suzuki Cup: Been there, done that, but Amri wants more

No other Singaporean, not even Fandi Ahmad or V Sundramoorthy, nor any other player from the region has achieved the feat.

Very few footballers can claim to have scored in three finals of the same international tournament.

It is why Singapore striker Khairul Amri will always have a special place in the hearts of local football fans.

Amri scored in every Suzuki Cup final he has played in, and on each occasion the Lions went on to lift the ASEAN crown in 2005, 2007 and 2012.

It would be a perfect way to round off a decade of national team service if the 29-year-old can make it an unprecedented quadruple in this year's tournament.

"It's a blessing to have achieved all this, and to score in all those finals, but I really want to win this year's competition," said Amri, who has made a name for himself for his burst of speed, tricks and spectacular goals.

"I may have scored crucial goals in all three finals, but it is not down to one player to win the tournament. We need to play as a team. Only then will things work out, like the defence keeping clean sheets and attackers scoring goals.

"That was how we won each of our three titles."

Singapore are the defending champions of the Suzuki Cup and are co-hosts of this year's competition, along with Vietnam.Drawn in Group B, they open their campaign against favourites Thailand next Sunday at the National Stadium at the Singapore Sports Hub.

Amri may be modest about his achievements, but the tributes flow easily and the statistics don't lie.

Former Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic, who guided Amri and the rest of the Lions to the three regional triumphs, once said: "Amri is someone Singapore football will rely on a lot in the future."

With 88 caps and 22 international strikes, half of which were scored over the last two years, the LionsXII star is indeed Singapore's most dependable goalscorer.

INJURIES

If not for various injuries to his hamstring, knees and feet which led to an incredible 68-month international goal drought after scoring the superb winner in the 2007 final in Thailand, Amri would most certainly have been a centurion and added at least another hatful of international goals to his tally.

But he remains thankful that there have been more celebrations than tribulations.

And he is also grateful to have been mentored by Avramovic, who handed Amri his international debut against Oman in 2004.

"My relationship with him is like Sir Alex Ferguson with Cristiano Ronaldo," the attacking star quipped.

"Sometimes it just seemed like he was asking so much of me to the point like he was picking on me, but he knew exactly what my strengths were, how to use them and how to get me in the right frame of mind.

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