Home United midfielder Hariss Harun believes that Thursday's friendly against Afghanistan at the Al-Wakrah Stadium in Qatar will provide him with much-needed match practise ahead of AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, starting 28 March with clash against Bahrain.
The 26-year-old has missed four months of competitive action after not being able to secure a loan move from his parent club - Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim. While he faced the risk of losing out on more as he failed to seal a deal to Europe even after the summer transfer window closed, Hariss was lucky enough to get a call from Spain's third division side - L'Hospitalet.
However, the midfielder's hopes of becoming the first footballer from Singapore to play in Spain were dashed as the Spanish side got caught up with tax issues, which did not help materialising the player's move.
JDT then announced that Hariss had secured a loan move to Home and that he is likely to return back to Spain later this year after the tax issues at L'Hospitalet gets sorted out. Notably, the Singapore international did not feature in the Protector's last AFC Cup game against Vietnam's Thang Quang Ninh as the S.League giants were not able to register him in time for continental duty.
Despite the game against Afghanistan being a friendly, there will be lot of pressure on Hariss as he will be doubling up as stand-in captain as skipper Shahril Ishak has been ruled out with injury for today's clash and the one against Bahrain as well.
"As a footballer, I always look forward to playing in international games and we will all give of our best to get good results for the national team," Hariss said, as quoted by The New Paper.
"Physically I feel fine, but my match fitness may not be what it could have been. I just cannot wait to get back to action and this friendly will definitely help me."
Having recently secured a two-year contract extension, coach V Sundramoorthy will also be eager to prove his worth by leading the Lions to the finals of AFC Asian Cup 2019 and a good start against Bahrain is vital for the Republic's chances. Hinting he will field a line-up with surprise additions against Afghanistan, the 51-year-old tactician relies on Hariss to be ready to lead the team to glory against Bahrain next Tuesday.
"I told him [Hariss] the break is actually good for him. He looks fit and sharp in training, and we will use this friendly to get him ready for Bahrain," Sundram added.