There is a new captain at the helm this year for the Lion City Sailors.

Hariss Harun will succeed Hassan Sunny, who held the role last season as the Sailors won their first Singapore Premier League (SPL) title, while Amirul Adli and Nur Adam Abdullah have been named co vice-captains.

Hariss is no stranger to the job, having skippered the Singapore national team in recent times in addition to various age-group levels and his previous club Johor Darul Ta’zim. A well-respected figure on the pitch and in the dressing room, the midfielder has always led by example and is looking forward to donning the armband for 2022.

“It is always an immense honour to be captain,” said Hariss, who has made 10 appearances for the club since signing last May. “This was discussed within the team and management, and I am happy to take the role. As a player, it does not change anything for me personally as I will continue to give my all.

”I have had a taste of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League – something that will be new to most of the team – and will use my experience there to help the players as we aim to give a good account of ourselves.”

The 30-year-old will work closely with Hassan and Shahdan Sulaiman, who remain key leadership figures in the team. The trio’s experience and guidance will serve as exemplary reference for Adli, 26, and Nur Adam, 21, whose appointments as vice-captains ensure that the younger age-groups in the squad will be represented in the leadership hierarchy as well.

“Hassan has been a wonderful captain for the past two years and I am pleased that I have good heads around me like him and Shahdan,” Hariss added. “For Adam and Adli, their new roles put a bit more responsibility on them and they are aware of that, but they are strong characters. It is important that we have a succession plan for the future and there is no better time for them to step up.”

Sailors Sporting Director Badri Ghent noted that the entire team is on board with the changes and is confident that the captains will set the right tone for the new season as the Sailors gear up for a big year.

“Hariss’ ability as a player is known to everyone but more importantly, he is a model professional and the way he conducts himself makes him an excellent role model for the Sailors,” he said. “Of course, we value Hassan’s contributions last season and together with Shahdan, the three of them will be superb leading figures to inspire and drive the entire team.

“With the Sailors competing on multiple fronts this season in the league, Singapore Cup and of course our maiden AFC Champions League campaign, we felt that it was also imperative that the younger players get the opportunity to step up – hence, the vice-captaincy choices of Adli and Nur Adam. 

“Both are established and well-regarded in their own right in their age-groups and will work together with Hariss to form a robust leadership structure.”

This Saturday, Hariss will lead the Sailors out for the first time in 2022 as the Sailors face Albirex Niigata (S) in the AIA Community Shield to kick off the domestic season, in a Jalan Besar Stadium fixture that is already sold out.  

“Pre-season has been tough and we have pushed ourselves to the limit, and we are ready to go,” he said. “We will come out strongly from the first whistle, all guns blazing and aim to get off to a winning start.”