Hariss Harun aim to carry Singapore scoring burden in Asian Cup qualifier
Hariss Harun is ready to carry some of the goal-scoring responsibility as an under-strength Singapore take on Chinese Taipei in an AFC Asian Cup qualifier at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday night.
Front man Khairul Amri is likely to be missing due an appendicitis-related problem and another experienced forward in Fazrul Nawaz is still coming back from a long-term knee injury.
It means that utility player Safuwan Baharudin could be used as an emergency striker as the Lions look to improve on their return of six goals in their last 13 official internationals.
"People say that's the strikers' job, but it's important that everyone chips in, even myself, to take the pressure off the strikers," 26-year-old Hariss told The New Paper.
"It is definitely something we need to improve on, but the good news is we have players in good form such as Faris Ramli, Khairul Nizam and Safuwan Baharudin.
"We have players who can take good set pieces and even our defenders have scored in the S.League, so things are looking positive."
Hariss, who has scored four times in 73 international appearances, says the memory of Singapore's near-miss in qualifying for the 2011 Asian Cup is spurring him on.
"We needed just a point away at Jordan in our last qualifier [in March 2010] to make it through to the 2011 Asian Cup, but we lost 2-1 and narrowly missed out," he said.
"In a tough group that also included Iran, we had beaten Jordan and Thailand earlier to put ourselves in a good position, so it was really tough to swallow, and I don't want that to happen again."
With a FIFA ranking of 160th, Chinese Taipei are the weakest team in Group E that also includes Bahrain (133rd) and Turkmenistan (143rd) in addition to Singapore (157th).
"No disrespect to Taiwan but, if we want to make it through, these are the games we must win," Hariss said.
"We have never qualified for the Asian Cup before, and we want to get there because that will be good for Singapore football.
"I'm optimistic we can do it, but we need to work together."
If Singapore do prevail over Chinese Taipei, it will be only their third victory in 14 matches under coach V. Sundramoorthy.
They will face Argentina in a friendly at the Singapore National Stadium on Tuesday.
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