Lions want to end year on a high
Captain Hariss urges fans to back them during upcoming games at the National Stadium
The Lions have endured a bruising Asian Cup qualifying campaign, but have little to show for their efforts.
Rooted to the bottom of Group E with just two points, V Sundram Moorthy's charges are four points behind third-placed Taiwan and five points adrift of both Turkmenistan and Bahrain.
With just two matches left, nothing less than a win against Bahrain next Tuesday at the National Stadium will be enough to keep their fading hopes alive.
They will line up against Lebanon tomorrow, in a final warm-up before the do-or-die match.
But the Lions insist that there is much more than just their flailing Asian Cup dream to play for.
"These are home games - important games, because it's about us, as a team, proving ourselves to Singapore," said Lions' captain Hariss Harun.
"Things have been going against us for a long time now, and we know that results haven't been good, but in recent games there have been things to be optimistic about, in the performances that we've put in.
"And we have to be patient, and keep working hard for the flag on our chests - and support from Singaporeans will do us a world of good - because what we do is really for them."
It was a sentiment echoed by goalkeeper Hassan Sunny.
"Everyone knows that we've had a bad year, everyone involved in the team knows it too, but we really want to end the year on a good note. We really need a win," said the 33-year-old.
But this does not mean that the Singapore side are giving up on qualifying for the 2019 Asian Cup Finals in the United Arab Emirates.
"It was really demoralising to lose in the last minute in that last game, but it is clear that it has not been a good campaign for us, even when we were playing at home," said Hariss, referring to Singapore's 2-1 loss to Turkmenistan, in their last qualifier in Ashgabat on Oct 10.
"But we still have a mathematical possibility of qualifying and, as long as there's a chance, no matter how small, we will give it everything we've got - we will go all out."
To qualify, Singapore will have to beat Bahrain next week and Taiwan in their final group fixture on March 27 next year, while keeping their fingers crossed that results elsewhere go their way.
Said Hassan: "We will go out there and do a job, no matter what circumstances we are facing, that's what professionals do. Some of our boys have been showing some good form in the S.League, and I hope that they can bring that form to the international level too."
Hariss too retained some optimism, drawing from a famous win in 2009 that saw the Lions break a three decade-long jinx.
An Aleksandar Duric goal saw Singapore beat Thailand 1-0 in an Asian Cup qualifier in Bangkok - ending a 34-year winless run on Thai soil in November that year.
Singapore eventually failed to qualify, but Hariss remembered how no one gave the Lions a chance then.
Hariss turned 19 a day after that famous fixture, but put in a man-of-the-match performance to stifle Thailand's midfielders.
"Bahrain are a big team that will be difficult to beat, but that was what people said about Thailand (in 2009), but we made things happen then, and it will be the same now, even in the Lebanon friendly - we will keep fighting," said the 26-year-old.
"And it will really be a big boost for us if Singaporeans came to the game. After all, we always play for them and for the country."
Goalkeepers: Hassan Sunny, Syazwan Buhari, Zaiful Nizam Defenders: Daniel Bennett, Irfan Fandi, Madhu Mohana, Faritz Hameed, Mustafic Fahrudin, Nazrul Nazari, Emmeric Ong, Safirul Sulaiman, Shannon Stephen Midfielders: M Anumanthan, Hariss Harun, Hafiz Sujad, Zulfahmi Arifin, Izzdin Shafiq, Safuwan Baharudin, Yasir Hanapi, Hami Syahin, Shahdan Sulaiman
Forwards: Shawal Anuar, Ikhsan Fandi, Khairul Amri, Faris Ramli