FAS awaits official word from JDT on Hariss
Plagued by player unavailability and injury, Singapore have yet to finalise their Under-23 squad for this month's Asian Games.
Although Johor Darul Ta'zim coach Bojan Hodak told The New Paper on Thursday that he would not release midfielder Hariss Harun, there was no official answer yet from the Malaysian Super League side.
Hodak said that he needed Hariss for the Malaysia Cup commitments.
The Football Association of Singapore is keeping its fingers crossed that Hariss would be released for the football competition from Sept 14-Oct 2, in Incheon, South Korea.
Football at the Asiad is an Under-23 competition, but teams are allowed to field three over-aged players.
National coach Bernd Stange, who will lead the Singapore squad, had earmarked Hariss, who turns 24 on Nov 19, as one of the over-aged players - alongside centre back Baihakki Khaizan and goalkeeper Hassan Sunny.
If Hariss fails to get the JDT green light, it is likely that LionsXII defender Afiq Yunos could be the replacement, as Stange opts for an experienced central defence.
Stange had initially shortlisted Tampines Rovers' Shahdan Sulaiman to take Hariss' place, but the S.League club wish to retain the playmaker for their two-legged Singapore Cup semi-final on Sept 22 and 25.
Young Lions coach Aide Iskandar, who will assist Stange in Incheon, said the squad will be finalised only after Singapore's two friendlies against Papua New Guinea (tonight) and Hong Kong (Tuesday).
Said Aide: "It's up to Bernd to decide on who the third over-aged player will be.
"But we must wait until after the Hong Kong game to see our injury situation. We are still hoping for Shakir (Hamzah) to recover in time."
At the Asian Games, Singapore are drawn with Tajikistan, Oman and Palestine in Group C.
They will kick off their campaign against Tajikistan on Sept 14.