Singapore midfielder Hariss Harun has been named in the Best XI for 2016 at the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Awards ceremony.
The Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) star — on-loan at Singapore’s Home United — joined the likes of Thailand’s Chanathip Songkrasin and Teerasil Dangda, along with Malaysia’s Ronny Harun and Indonesia’s Boaz Salossa, in a lineup that represents the best of Southeast Asian talent.
Hariss was not in Bali to pick up the award in person as he was in action in Home United’s 3-1 victory over Geylang International in the S.League.
But the 26-year-old will be delighted to have been recognised for his contributions for club and country in a year in which his performances almost earned him a historic move to Spain.
Hariss was a double winner for JDT 2016, following on from his 2015 AFC Cup triumph, plus Malaysia Super League medals in 2014 and 2015.
He was on the verge of a transfer to Spanish third-tier side CE L’Hospitalet earlier this year, but tax issues at the club forced him to move back to his homeland.
Despite his relative youth, he has already been capped 77 times for his country, having become the country’s youngest ever debutant at the age of 16. While recent results for the national team have been discouraging, in better days, he was part of the Singapore squad who lifted the AFF Cup in 2012.
Harris was not the only Singaporean to lift an award as FIFA Referee Muhammad Taqi Aljaafari Bin Jahari was named AFF Referee of the Year 2016 (Men).
“It is indeed an honour for both Hariss and Taqi to be recognised by the AFF for being the best at what they do — not just in Singapore, but in the region,” Football Association of Singapore (FAS) President Lim Kia Tong said.
“Even though they have very different roles as a player and as an official, they are both similar in that they are consummate professionals who take care of themselves and ensure they are in the best possible shape to carry out their duties at all times.
“The staff, management and Council of the FAS are all very happy for them, and hope this recognition will spur their colleagues on to achieve even more things.”
Hariss will next be in action on Wednesday when Home United face holders Albirex Niiagata (S) in the first leg of their Singapore Cup semifinal at Jurong East Stadium.
Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT