Hong Kong correspondent Christopher KL Lau brings his regular round-up of all the very latest news, developments and other footballing points of interest from the SAR.
The Hong Kong football season has been one of the most memorable in recent times with historic moments in an action packed year. The national team’s memorable games against China captured the public’s imagination whilst Eastern’s Chan Yuen Ting made global headlines as she became the first female football manager to lead a top level side to a league title. Overall, Hong Kong football is on the up and one of the main drivers of the game’s resurgence in Hong Kong is the head of the Hong Kong FA, Mark Sutcliffe.
After the recent Henderson Sapling Cup final, Mark Sutcliffe, took some time to have a chat about the past season and his aims for the coming season.
How has the season been for you? Was this season a success for Hong Kong football?
I think generally speaking, yes. There have been some very good points. I think it is good that a different team won it this year (Eastern) as it always makes it a little bit more interesting and we have had the first female coach (Chan Yuen Ting – First female manager to win a men’s title) which saw Hong Kong make news around the world and there have been some very good matches and some of the teams have have been very well supported. For example, Eastern’s average crowd is nearly 2000 and there have been some very positive things.
I would like to see more teams in the Premier League next year and I would also like to see a little more interest from the fans as we have a target to achieve of increased attendances so for the next few months, we will be working hard for the format of the next season; for example, how many cup competitions we are going to have and try and get as many teams through the club license as possible to make sure we can expand the league in the future.
How many teams do you estimate will be in the Hong Kong Premier League?
My estimated number will be ten teams but it could be more or it could be less. As I say, we have to work with the clubs over the next few months and try and get as many teams as possible.
Hong Kong Pegasus Win Hong Kong FA Cup 2016
In the first of two back to back cup finals for Hong Kong Pegasus in the space of a few days, Pegasus held their nerve as they won one of the best Hong Kong cup finals in recent times. After the game finished one all, they defeated a spirited Yuen Long team via penalties to claim the first of their cup double.
A hardworking Yuen Long took the lead against the run of play in the the 67th minute when Aleksandar Randelovic smashed home a beautiful half volley. Pegasus fought back on the 74th minute as Admir Adrovic’s low drive snuck inside the post and the game was level.
The game went into penalties and the kicks were taken facing into the South stand of Hong Kong stadium. Pegasus prevailed four goals to three with the crucial winning save being made by Pegasus keeper, Kristijan Naumovski, who was soon engulfed by his team mates. After a long and fascinating final, Pegasus captain Jaimes Mckee lifted the trophy to the delight of the Pegasus fans.
Yuen Long players were heart broken as it was a cruel way to lose a cup final. For Hong Kong Pegasus, it was their first trophy in about five seasons and within the next few days, they would have another to add to their collection.
Hong Kong Pegasus Win Henderson Sapling Cup 2016 and Complete Double
Hong Kong Pegasus lifted the Henderson Sapling Cup 2016 after a blockbuster of a finish to the first ninety minutes when Hong Kong Pegasus took the lead in injury time in what was surely the game winner, only for South China to equalize straight from the kick off to force extra time and eventually penalties.
Hong Kong Pegasus took the lead via Admir Adrovic in a last gasp attack but South China showed their fighting spirit and resilience and scored a goal with the last kick of regulation time via Sean Tse. Hong Kong Pegasus had to endure another round of extra time and after no more goals were scored in the extra thirty minutes, yet another cup final was to be resolved by penalties. Again it was Hong Kong Pegasus who came up on top and again it was Kristijan Naumovski, the Pegasus keeper, who was the hero.
Pegasus had made a late season surge and had won two major titles within the space of four days. Their manager, the Englishman Kevin Bond, has not been in Hong Kong very long and has made a winning start and Pegasus fans will be hoping that momentum will carry them through to the next season and that Pegasus can contend for the title.
Kitchee Win Season Season Play Off Yet Crash out of AFC Cup 2016
In what has been a very mixed week for Kitchee, just days after crashing out of the AFC Cup 2016, by defeating Southern two to nil this past Saturday May 28th, Kitchee have qualified for the AFC Cup 2017 competition or possibly the AFC Champions league (TBC). Goals from Alexander Akande in the 32th minute and Lam Ka Wai in the 89th minute were enough to defeat Ricky Cheng’s Southern.
Kitchee have snuck into the competition which they have fared so well in and it will be a relief that they have ensured their participation in 2017 after losing so dramatically to JSW Bengaluru two to three to a disappointed home crowd.
South China Keep Hong Kong AFC Cup 2016 Hopes Alive
South China are Hong Kong’s only hope for continental glory this year after a dramatic away win in the Philippines as they defeated on form Ceres La Salle one to nil thanks for a wonderful volley by Luiz Carlos on the 106th minute. The goal settled the one legged round of 16 tie. Ricardo Rambo’s South China will be hoping to emulate their 2010 side by reaching the semi-finals and beyond.
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