Hariss vows to make an impact in Spain
Lions star Hariss leaves for Spain today to join Spanish third-tier club
After an agonising wait of more than two weeks, Singapore's midfield general Hariss Harun will leave for Spain tonight.
The 26-year-old, capped 71 times with four international goals, will join third-tier CE L'Hospitalet in Group 3 of Segunda B on loan from his parent club Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT).
Hariss told The New Paper: "This is a new chapter for my football career.
"I don't know how long this stint is going to be, but I am going to make the most of it."
Widely regarded as the Republic's top professional footballer, Hariss has handled the unpredictability of his recent circumstances with grace and dignity.
JDT had originally announced on Dec 14 that he would be loaned to a Portuguese or Japanese club for a year, but that failed to materialise.
On Feb 2, the Malaysian Super League champions revealed that Hariss would be heading to CE L'Hospitalet on Feb 5 instead, although that move was also delayed due to his work permit application.
It is understood that his work permit application is still being processed.
As a result, he hasn't played a single competitive game in three months since Singapore's 2-1 Suzuki Cup group defeat by Indonesia on Nov 25.
"It was a good break before I started pre-season with JDT. I also played 30 to 40 minutes of a friendly against Buriram," said Hariss.
"I'm okay in terms of physical fitness. It's just about getting back my match fitness.
"I have been waiting for this opportunity for some time.
"Now that I'm going to get on that plane, there is a sense of relief.
"JDT told me the Spanish club are waiting for me so everything should be okay and I hope to join them for training as soon as possible, hopefully Thursday or Friday."
ASIAN CUP QUALIFIER
After 26 games, CE L'Hospitalet are lying 18th out of 20 teams in Group 3 of Segunda B.
"I just want to focus on football now. The main challenge will be to adapt to their tactics and style of play, and to get into the team before the end of the season," said Hariss.
"My wife and children will either join me in two weeks' time or after Singapore's Asian Cup qualifier against Bahrain on March 28.
"It won't be easy leaving them, but sacrifices need to be made in football and I feel I can cope with off-the-field issues such as living alone, learning their language and blending into the culture."
National football coach V Sundramoorthy will be relieved when his key player finally realises his European ambitions before the start of their Asian Cup qualifying campaign.
Channelling the can-do attitude that has helped him win so many trophies for country and club, Hariss believes it is not impossible to get off to a good start in Group E, which also includes Turkmenistan and Taiwan.
He said: "Bahrain away should be our toughest match in the group, but getting a positive result is not beyond us.
"We may have lost to them in all six previous encounters, but we were not outplayed or dominated in our last two matches despite the results.
"They are not Iran or Japan and, even then, we held Japan before.
"If we can improve in our decision-making in the final third, score early to put them under pressure, we can get at least a point."