Hariss: Home support key for LIONSXII

Hariss Harun feels the backing of a partisan home crowd is key if LIONSXII are to make a winning start to their debut Malaysia Super League campaign in two days time.

*Credit FAS in text body if image is used*

By Ian Griffiths

After weeks of speculation and rabid media coverage, V Sundramoorthy's LIONSXII side entertain reigning Super League champions Kelantan at the island republic's Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday, the first time a Singapore side has appeared in the M-League for 17 years.

With many observers already installing Kelantan as clear favourites to retain their crown, the clash with Peter Butler's talented charges represents a true baptism of fire for Hariss and his LIONSXII colleagues.

However, having witnessed thousands of supporters queuing patiently to buy tickets for the Kelantan game, midfielder Hariss is now more convinced than ever that the team's 12th man, and the comfort of familiar surroundings, will prove to be key factors against the Red Warriors.

"When you have your supporters behind you it really gives you an added motivation," the Singapore international told ESPNSTAR.com.

"Their support gives you that extra push to keep performing, to keep going when you are down or are feeling tired. I really believe our fans have the capability to lift us like that during the Malaysia Super League.

"The Kelantan match is our first game of the season and it is at home. We have to make the most of our fans' great support and the fact that we are playing at the Jalan Besar," the 21-year-old added.

Accruing points at home looks to be a must if LIONSXII are to establish themselves and become a force to be reckoned with throughout their stay in their near neighbour's Super League.

The true test for this relatively young side will, however, come when they hunt for points away from Singapore.

A hostile reception awaits every LIONSXII trip to Malaysia, and while Hariss admits that getting results away from home will not be an easy task, he remains convinced that the Singaporeans have what it takes to more than match whatever comes their way.

"At this level no team will be easy to play against in the Malaysia Super League, and I think our opponents will throw everything at us," the former Courts Young Lions ace explained.

"However, we have several experienced players in the side who have played in front of big crowds and that will only help us when it comes to away games in Malaysia.

"It is also important for us as players not to get carried away. We must remain focussed and keep a cool head at all times," he concluded.

Other January 10 Malaysia Super League Fixtures

Negri Sembilan vs Selangor
Perak vs Terengganu
Felda United vs Sabah
Sarawak vs Kuala Lumpur
T-Team vs Kedah
PKNS vs Johor FC

Image courtesy of the Football Association of Singapore

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