Amri Yahyah going strong at 36, praises new Malaysia boss Vingada

Age is just a number for 36-year-old Amri Yahyah, who is determined to force his way into the starting lineup for Malaysia's opening AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Lebanon in Johor Bahru on June 13.

Amri, who moved last month from Melaka United to Selangor, is the oldest of nine players over the age of 30 in the 26-man training squad under new coach Nelo Vingada.

With 66 caps since 2004, Amri made his international debut when Malaysia teammate Matt Davies was only nine years old.

But Amri, who captained Harimau Malaysia at last year's AFF Suzuki Cup and scored two goals, says he's as keen as ever to represent his nation.

"For me, there is no issue with a player's age. We have a good mix of experience and youngsters in the squad," Amri told The Star.

"What is important is to show the coach that we deserve to be in the team and give our all for Malaysia."

Amri won the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup under K. Rajagobal, and has 13 titles in the Malaysia Super League with Selangor and Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT).

While the returning JDT players, including captain Safiq Rahim, will strengthen midfield and defensive positions, Malaysia are likely to choose between three of the same forwards used under previous coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee. Ahmad Hazwan Bakri and Safee Sali will be vying for starting positions up front.

Amri added that he was impressed by new boss Vingada, the former assistant of Carlos Queiroz at Portugal U23 and Iran, who began work last month.

"The sessions have been great for the coach and the players. We are all fired up to give our best for Vingada, and I hope to make the starting XI," Amri said.