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HKFC First Team Coach Stephen Tucker “China needs coaches to inspire youth”

Hong Kong Football Club first team coach Stephen Tucker believes Hong Kong should be represented in the Chinese Super League to aid the game’s development in the SAR, and argues that foreign coaches working in China have a duty to inspire youth.

Tucker, who is also an opposition analyst  has been in his role since 2016 at the First Division club believes coaching is not just about technical ability, but about motivating young players on a more personal and psychological level.

“I read a recent article about some foreign coaches coaching in China, I’m worried about the lack of inspiration with the focus solely being on technical and tactical development, as a coach you have to inspire! Elite Players are not just developed on the training pitch, they need to take the game away with them and live it 24 hours a day, they need to be inspire, and have a dream!”

The Englishman was quick to stress that he didn’t believe all foreign coaches were delivering uninspiring football education in China.

The UEFA “A” licensed football coach also touched upon the huge transfer fees which were commonplace for a while in China and which, he in turn, thought was detrimental to the development of youth players in China.

“In terms of huge transfer fees and salaries, I think that China could have created some real problems by going the way that it was with all those players coming in on huge salaries and transfers. There could have been a more competitive league but it would have affected Chinese football in terms of developing youth players and blocked the pathway for the promising teenagers; not under 23s but teenagers and I think it has been proven that you need to be making your debut about 17 and 18 years of age to have a career in league football.”

Tucker shared that Chinese Super league teams had to be thorough and complete in the players they sign as even their though have been great signings like Hulk, Oscar and Giovanni Moreno who have played with the correct attitude, there have been cases of players lacking the discipline and proper attitude once they arrive in China.

“The clubs have to be more careful now and have to pick the right players and they can’t just be throwing money at these players and make sure that these players coming in are not just grabbing money. For example, like Tevez, who would have thought that as he was one of the hardest working players at all the clubs he has been at. Hopefully the CSL clubs can now get in players who are passionate and inspire the youth of China instead of stifle it.”

Tucker also shared his opinions on the concept of population and football and how the two are not inter-linked.

“It will take time (for Chinese football to develop) as population has nothing to do with football at any level. If population was a factor then China, India and the USA would be leading the way. In the research that I have done, It shows that there is only one team in the top ten which is one of the most populated countries and it is Brazil who have won the world cup and no other team has. So you have Uruguay who in comparsion have won two world cups and that have a population of less then 3.5 million people and when they won it as well, it was probably a smaller population like 1 million.”

Hong Kong FC. Tucker is 4th from the right, seated

Tucker is convinced that being motivated, having passions and dreams can bring Chinese football to the next level.

“The President of China, Xi Jiping, he started the dream in China and he is an inspiration and it is brave of him to lay his dream out for a whole nation. He wants to qualify for a world cup and he wants to host a world cup and one day, win it. To qualify for the world cup, China have to produce the best players in Asia first of all and that is the responsibly of the Chinese people, parents, coaches and the players who have to match Xi’s passion.”

Tucker also shared his views on whether or not Hong Kong should enter a team in the Chinese leagues though said that it was important that Hong Kong keep developing their current league.

“I think Hong Kong should join the Chinese leagues and with the right investment, I think a Hong Kong team could thrive and compete; but with me being in Hong Kong, I would like to know how it would affect our league here as the Hong Kong league needs developing and higher attendances. Investment is a big part of it though the idea is hard to implement.”

Christopher KL Lau was born in England and grew up in both England and Hong Kong, and has a background in media, education and non-profits. He also is a freelance writer / photographer and has written for a number of magazines, websites and newspapers around the world on many subjects ranging from the arts to travel. Chris is passionate about sports and its place in society and is keen to promote both Hong Kong and Chinese football to a wider audience.

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