Hariss can overcome Euro challenges, say those before him
Local footballers who have played in Europe say Lions star can overcome obstacles
He has to adapt to the weather, learn a new language, and acclimatise to unfamiliar surroundings, but Hariss Harun has what it takes to succeed in Spain.
That's what local footballers, who have plied their trade in Europe, say about the 26-year-old Singapore star, as he prepares to join third-tier Spanish side CE L'Hospitalet on loan from Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta'zim.
The club play in Group 3 of the Segunda Division B, alongside several reserve teams of sides playing in the Spanish top flight, including the likes of Barcelona, Villarreal and Espanyol.
The timing of Hariss' move reminds V Sundramoorthy of his move to Swiss side FC Basel in October 1987.
The national team coach, who was 24 when he travelled to Switzerland, said: "When I went there, it was winter.
"So coming from a place with a hot climate and jumping into one so cold wasn't ideal, but you have to learn to adapt.
"For example, the training pitch was soggy because of the snow.
"To be honest, I think it would take one or two seasons for a footballer from this region to get used to playing football in those conditions. So the key is how fast Hariss can adapt to the conditions there."
You can put him anywhere, he will strive to do his best and perform."V Sundramoorthy on Hariss Harun
With current temperatures in Spain below 10 deg C, with winds up to 42kmh, Hariss faces a tough task adapting to the conditions in Spain.
Local football icon Fandi Ahmad, who joined Dutch side FC Groningen four years before Sundram's Basel move, said that the language barrier would be another issue for Hariss.
"One of the toughest things will be the language, because not all the Spanish players will be able to speak English," said Fandi.
"What I did in Groningen was to get a roommate who spoke English, so if I did not know anything, I would ask him.
"Gradually, I spoke more and more to other teammates who knew a bit of English and, by three months, I could converse in Dutch.
"I had to put a lot of effort, though. Every day, I switched on the television to watch the news in Dutch, and I tried to read the papers.
"I was lucky too, because I stayed with an Indonesian family (who spoke Dutch), and I had a language teacher who came by once or twice a week to teach me."
Another lesser-known Singaporean who plied his trade in Europe, Ahmad Hakimputra, echoed Fandi's concerns.
The 26-year-old, who played for Kaposvari Rakoczi in Hungary's top division in 2012 and 2013, said: "Hariss should learn simple Spanish football terms and endear himself to teammates.
"It will be a big problem if he doesn't understand the coach, who cannot keep repeating instructions in Spanish and English during training sessions.
"But I think in a month or two, Hariss should be able to converse in basic Spanish."
Putra, however, warned that it might take some time for Hariss to win over his new teammates.
"They won't know who Hariss Harun is, which club he is from, and how football in Singapore or Malaysia is like," said the now-retired player, who is head coach at local football consultancy In-Sport.
"So maybe not everyone will be very welcoming.
"Having said that, Hariss is a very good player and a very good professional, too.
"In footballing terms, I don't think he will be fazed and, if he can assimilate well, he could do quite well."
Sundram agreed, adding: "For me, it boils down to the player's personality.
"Hariss is a person who can adapt to challenges, he's hardworking and very positive.
"You can put him anywhere, he will strive to do his best and perform."