Hariss Harun leaves Johor Darul Ta'zim to return to Singapore with Lion City Sailors

Hariss Harun won six Malaysia Super League titles and the 2015 AFC Cup in 197 appearances over seven years for Johor Darul Ta'zim. Johor Darul Ta'zim Football Club

Singapore international midfielder Hariss Harun has left Johor Darul Ta'zim after eight years with the Malaysia Super League giants and moved closer to home by inking a deal with Singapore Premier League outfit Lion City Sailors.

The 30-year-old won six league titles, a Malaysia Cup, and a Malaysia FA Cup since joining JDT in 2014. He also became the first Singaporean footballer to attain continental glory in the AFC Cup when he guided the Southern Tigers to victory over Istiklol in the 2015 final.

In total, Hariss made 197 appearances, played 15,367 minutes, scored 12 goals, and made five assists with JDT. He also skippered the side in their debut campaign in the AFC Champions League in 2019.

JDT said their captain's departure was by mutual consent with the club accepting Hariss' decision to "return to Singapore due to family matters as the COVID-19 pandemic has made it impossible to travel back home on a more regular basis."

Hariss joins the free-spending Sailors on a three-and-a-half-year contract. He spent a season on loan at their predecessors Home United in 2017 following an underwhelming stint with Spanish third division club CE L'Hospitalet.

"This decision was a tough one to make. JDT was more than a club, it was a family that had allowed me to grow and develop, both as a footballer and a person. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to represent the passionate state of Johor," Hariss wrote on his Instagram profile.

"I am thrilled to return home. The SPL is where I started to build my career, and it's wildly exciting to now be a part of the Lion City Sailors' vision of building up a club that can act as a catalyst for the SPL and Singapore football," the defensive midfielder added.

The Sailors are currently second in the 2021 SPL standings with 20 points from nine matches and trail leaders Albirex Niigata (S) by only a point. They will also participate in the 2021 AFC Cup where they are pooled with Malaysia's Kedah Darul Aman, Vietnam's Saigon FC and Indonesia's Persipura Jayapura in Group H.

Johor, meanwhile, are sitting atop the Malaysia Super League table with 30 points after 13 games. They are drawn with South Korea's Pohang Steelers, Japan's Nagoya Grampus and Thailand's Ratchaburi Mitr Phol in Group G of 2021 AFC Champions League East.

Hariss will join the Sailors squad after the international break in June.

Hariss began his professional career with Young Lions in 2007 and won the Malaysia Super League title with LionsXII in 2013 before switching to JDT the following season. He also has more than 100 international caps for Singapore.