Hariss Harun, Stipe Plazibat prepare for Home Utd exits in Singapore Cup
Hariss Harun and Stipe Plazibat will represent Home United for a final time when the Protectors take on Hougang United in the 2017 Singapore Cup third-place playoff at Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday.
The duo have performed integral roles in a mostly thrilling year for the club. They went all the way to the ASEAN zonal final of the AFC Cup and finished in the top three for the first time since 2013.
After some commanding displays for Home in central midfield and defence since coming on loan in March, Hariss will return to parent club Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) in Malaysia in 2018.
Meanwhile, Plazibat is expected to complete a move to Thai Premier League side Bangkok Glass, following a stunning debut year. He forged a fearsome attacking partnership with Faris Ramli, accumulating 14 assists and 38 goals, with 25 of those coming in the S.League which saw him narrowly missing out on the 2017 Golden Boot award.
On Thursday, Faris was voted Home United 2017 Player of the Year by the club's fans.
Both players are raring to go as they look to help the club end the season on a high before their departures.
"Training has been more competitive than usual as everyone is fighting for a spot in the first eleven," Hariss said.
"I'm enjoying my last few training sessions with the club. I'm sure with the preparations we have, it'll be a special last game for some of us. For sure, we're going to step out with 11 fighters on the field to win this game.
"It's been a magnificent year for me and the team, we're one of the most free-scoring teams [96 goals in 41 games in all competitions]," said Plazibat, who was signed from Hougang United before the start of the season.
"We want to go out there and put up a good show in this final game of the year to repay our fans for all the support they have given us."
One big name is certain to miss this game for Aidil Sharin's side though. Centre-back Irfan Fandi, whose outstanding performances earned a nomination for the S.League Young Player of the Year, is ruled out due to an ankle ligament injury sustained during international duty with Singapore.
The third-place playoff game will be played as a curtain-raiser to the main event, which is a first-ever all-foreign Singapore Cup final to be contested between holders Albirex Niigata (S) and Philippines invitees Global Cebu FC.
Albirex have claimed all domestic trophies on offer for the second consecutive season, having won the Charity Shield, League Cup and S.League.
Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT