In a period where Hong Kong club, Kitchee, have dominated the domestic game, one name has been synonymous with this era of unrivalled success; namely Fernando Pedreira. The Brazilian came to Hong Kong barely knowing anything about the city yet has slowly established himself as one of the leading players in the league whose goals and assists have helped Kitchee win a whole host of domestic trophies.
In an exclusive interview with Wild East Football, the easy-going and affable Fernando shared his thoughts on Kitchee’s previous Asian Champions League campaign and much more!
WEF: You have been in Hong Kong for six years now. Do you think the level of Hong Kong football has improved?
Fernando Pedreira: “The level of Hong Kong football has improved and some foreigners have become local players and Kitchee have placed out a more stronger team and they did well last season and we hope to do well in the AFC Cup. I think Hong Kong football has improved and some superstar players have come to Hong Kong and this has helped the level of Hong Kong football improve and some local players have gone to China and we have never seen this before.”
WEF: Kitchee competed in the Asian Champions League last season. It was a tough group but do you think the team improved as the group games continued?
Fernando Pedreira: “The team improved as the Asian Champions league progressed as it was another level to play against the best teams in the Asia Pacific and if you recall when we played against Kawasaki Frontale in Japan at the end of January. We lost 1-0 but it was very close and we nearly won the game and we had a chance. Against Tianjin, we had a chance and we conceded a goal in the 88th minute and we won against Kawasaki and we improved a lot and it was a great time for us.”
WEF: Can Hong Kong teams compete with team in the Chinese Super League?
Fernando Pedreira: “I don’t know but I think in terms of level,Hong Kong teams can play there and some teams would have a chance and there are some good teams in Hong Kong and if you saw Kitchee last season then you saw a very strong team and not just eleven players but up to 18 to 20 very good players and when we played against Tianjin then we could and did compete and they had players like Pato who has played in the national team for Brazil and players like Axel Witzel who played for Belgium in the world cup. The quality and level is very high and we can compete against them.”
WEF: Did you ever expect to play in Hong Kong when you were younger?
Fernando Pedreira: “I did not know Hong Kong and when you are young in Brazil, you think about playing for the best teams in Brazil or you go to Europe and normally the players think like this but life brought me here and I am very happy to stay here. I love Hong Kong and this is my sixth year already and after next season, I will try and change my passport!”
WEF: Do you think that playing in Brazil is a disadvantage for players like Oscar and Hulk?
“I think the Chinese league is very strong and has improved. Augusto has gone to the Brazil team and he has played in China and Paulhino has also played in China and I hope he can continue for the Brazil national team and Brazil has so many players and it is hard for the selection team.”
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