Vet­eran striker aims to keep scor­ing till he is 40

New Straits Times - - Sport - AJITPAL SINGH ajit­pals­

AGE is just a num­ber for Amri Yahyah as the vet­eran striker be­lieves he can keep his ca­reer go­ing be­yond 40. The na­tional captain, who turned 36 on Jan 21, will leave for Manila to­day to­gether with the na­tional team for the friendly against the Philip­pines on Wed­nes­day.

Amri wants to em­u­late for­mer Sin­ga­pore in­ter­na­tional Alek­san­dar Duric, who re­tired from pro­fes­sional foot­ball only aged 44 in 2014.

The Se­lan­gor-born Amri hardly gets in­jured and is still one of the best for­wards in the coun­try.

He is cur­rently play­ing for Su­per League side Malacca.

“I want to play pro­fes­sional foot­ball for as long as I can.

“I have no plans to re­tire at the mo­ment…I still feel good, I feel young,” said

Amri after the na­tional team edged Premier

League side Po­lice 1-0 in a prac­tice match at Pana­sonic Sta­dium in

Shah Alam on Satur­day.

“My form has not suf­fered with age. I am still play­ing for the coun­try and I want to con­tinue do­ing so.

“I know that it gets harder as you age, but in my head I think it’s pos­si­ble.

“Duric was one of the most feared strik­ers in this re­gion and he played in­ter­na­tional foot­ball un­til he was 42 be­fore he re­tir­ing two years later. I aim to em­u­late him.

“If you look after your­self and do things right, you can reach 40. I have the de­sire and mo­ti­va­tion to con­tinue.”

Amri si­lenced his doubters last sea­son by emerg­ing as Malaysia’s top scorer with five goals.

He has 58 caps and has scored 16 goals in to­tal for the na­tional team.

The for­ward hopes Malaysia will garner a good start to the sea­son in the friendly against the Philip­pines.

“It is still early in the sea­son and every­one is match fit from club foot­ball.

“We are in good con­di­tion and fo­cused on the match.

“Our aim is to beat the Philip­pines as re­cent matches against them have been end­ing in draws,” Amri added.

Na­tional coach Ong Kim Swee said his team need to work on a few things ahead of the friendly.

“Our mid­field needs to tighten move­ments dur­ing de­fen­sive and at­tack­ing sit­u­a­tions.

“We will work on it in our fi­nal ses­sions on Mon­day and Tues­day in Manila,” he said.

Amri Yahyah

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