Hariss wants to lead Home to AFC Cup (Asean) glory
Midfield star Hariss wants to mark AFC Cup debut for Protectors with a win in tonight's first leg
|HOME UNITED||CERES NEGROS|
He is the only Singaporean to win the Asian Football Confederations (AFC) Cup while he was with the victorious Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) side in 2015.
Hariss Harun is targeting more success in the regional tournament when S.League outfit Home United take on Philippine team Ceres Negros in the first leg of the AFC Cup Asean final at Jalan Besar Stadium tonight.
An Asean champion will be crowned for the first time in the competition's revamped format after the second leg in Bacolod City on Aug 9, which is also Singapore's National Day.
Tonight's clash will be Hariss' first game for Home United in the AFC Cup, as the Protectors did not manage to register him for the earlier stages after he joined them on loan from JDT in March.
"The AFC Cup is very special," the 26-year-old midfield powerhouse told The New Paper yesterday.
"You are playing against some of the best players in the (continent)... and both teams will be out to show who the best team in South-east Asia are, aside from the Thai teams (who compete in the Asian Champions League)."
Hariss added that the camaraderie in the Home camp reminds him of the positive atmosphere which helped JDT to the AFC Cup crown two years ago.
Then, the Malaysian giants upset the odds to beat Tajikistan side Istiklol 1-0 in front of the Central Asian club's home fans in Dushanbe.
"What was important then was the team's bond off the field," recalled Hariss.
I can see the team spirit here is something special, too, and it has gotten better with time.Home midfielder Hariss Harun, comparing the Protectors’ team spirit with that of the Johor Darul Ta’zim side that won the 2015 AFC Cup
"And, in the months I have been here at Home, I can see the team spirit here is something special, too, and it has gotten better with time.
"As with any team, there will be ups and downs. We have lost a couple of games in the S.League, but this is what makes a team stronger.
"In the AFC Cup, we have been playing very well and scoring plenty of goals.
"If we can organise ourselves and keep our discipline, I think we are in for a positive result tomorrow."
Hariss and his teammates have been gearing up for tonight's game since May 30, when they saw off another Philippine side Global FC 5-4 on aggregate, thanks to a goal deep in added time from hotshot Stipe Plazibat.
Winger Faris Ramli said: "It's a great feeling to be in the final.
"This was our aim from the start, and we've worked hard all the way from the (AFC Cup) qualifying play-offs.
"Now, we want to make full use of our home advantage, because we know it will be tough in the second leg.
"Everyone is enjoying their football, we want to keep up the momentum we have, and we're all really looking forward to the game."
Home coach Aidil Sharin is confident that his squad can get the result they want.
"The players are hungry for the match," he said.
"They are fresh and they are ready. This final is a big opportunity for us, and we don't want to waste it."
- Tickets for tonight's game are priced at $8 (adult) and $2 (children), and can be purchased at the Bishan Stadium ticket office during office hours today. They are also available at the Jalan Besar Stadium from 6.45pm. A family bundle, consisting of two adult tickets and two children's tickets, is priced at $16.