Hariss Harun puts things into perspective after curtailed season
Lions captain Hariss Harun's stop-start season has been curtailed, after his club Johor Darul Ta'zim's (JDT) involvement in the Malaysia Cup and Asian Champions League came to a premature end.
Following the club's announcement on Wednesday that they would not be taking part in the continental competition, the Malaysia Football League announced yesterday that the Malaysia Cup would be cancelled due to the spike in Covid-19 cases in the country.
To combat the spread of the virus, the Malaysian government has reinstated the conditional movement control order across much of the nation.
Besides Hariss, fellow Singaporeans Faris Ramli, Safuwan Baharudin, Shakir Hamzah and Khairul Amri also ply their trade in Malaysia, while Aidil Sharin coaches Kedah.
The Asian Champions League, which was postponed in March due to the coronavirus, has resumed with all matches staged in Qatar.
However, JDT were told by Malaysia's National Security Council that they would not be granted permission to travel to Doha, ending their promising start to the campaign.
They had bounced back from a 5-1 defeat by Vissel Kobe to beat Suwon Samsung Bluewings 2-1. The final team in Group G is Guangzhou Evergrande.
Said Hariss: "We had a good start, we still had to play four more games and anything could have happened.
"With how the year or season has turned out, there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding football, in terms of preparation and what not, so that could have levelled the playing field...
"From a footballing perspective, we are a little bit disappointed... But we all know what is going on around the world with this pandemic, and cases in Malaysia in the past month or so have been rising...
"There are some things that are more important than football at this point in time."
The 29-year-old is awaiting official documentation before returning to Singapore, where he will start his degree in business and marketing later this month. He will shuttle back across the Causeway for pre-season training late next month.
After missing much of this season following knee surgery, Hariss is also raring to return to international duty.
The Lions, who will be sporting a spanking new Nike kit next year, have not played since last November due to Covid-19.
Said Hariss: "You miss it, especially now that we have players playing all over the place - Malaysia, Thailand, Ikhsan (Fandi) is in Norway. It's nice when we get together...
"Now with the added incentive of the new jersey, we're like kids, whenever a new jersey comes out, the players are always excited."