History was made in Hong Kong on April 22nd 2016 as Eastern clinched their first league title since 1995 and Chan Yuen Ting became the first female manager to lead a male team to a top tier football league title for the first time in history anywhere in the world.
More remarkable still is that she is 27 years old and in her first full time managerial role after learning her trade in the youth game and given her results her contract has been extended to the 2016/2017 season. News of her achievement made headlines around the world and was seen as both inspirational and motivational.
Tellingly, for a brief few hours, it seemed that Tseung Kwan O stadium was the centre of the universe as this momentous occasion played out in dramatic style as Eastern defeated their bitter rivals South China 2-1 away from home. Given the sense of occasion and the eager anticipation of the massed Eastern fans, it felt like an Eastern home game. Brazilian Giovane da Silva’s key goals in the first half were enough to secure a Eastern win despite South China’s belated comeback.
The Eastern players, staff and fans had to wait for seven painful minutes of injury time to pass before the final whistle sparked wild celebrations and ended the bitterness of waiting 21 years for another league title.
Eastern had spent and invested a vast amount of money this season and it has paid off as they have consistently lead the league from the start and they also benefitted from the on-going transitions and changes at Kitchee as well as Sun Pegasus while arch rivals South China have stuttered, stumbled and generally disappointed through this campaign and will look at finish the domestic season empty handed. Eastern will now enter the AFC Champions league and will seek to go better than Kitchee by qualifying for the lucrative and prestigious group stages.
Kitchee Win Hong Kong League Cup
Kitchee, treble winners last year, have endured a series of transitions this year and while their title challenge has fallen away, they did pick up some consolidation by winning the League Cup title. They defeated an underwhelming South China by a convincing score of 3-0 with a penalty by Rufino and a brace by Oluwatayo placing the game out of reach. Kitchee will hope to regroup for next season and challenge for the title once again.
Big Name Teams from Around the World to Join Hong Kong Soccer Sevens 2016
Premier League pacesetters Leicester City will face last year’s runners-up West Ham United at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens in May after the English clubs were paired together in Group D alongside HKFA U-21 and Singapore Cricket Club following Tuesday’s draw.
Leicester won the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens at the second time of asking when they defeated defending champions Newcastle United 2-0 in the 2013 final after winning the Shield competition on their inaugural appearance a year earlier.
More information at: www.hksoccersevens.com
All photos from Christopher KL Lau and Hong Kong Soccer Sevens
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