Unsung heroes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 May, 2012, 12:00am


Name Michael Mak Chak-ming
School YLPMSAA Tang Siu Tong Secondary School
Grade Form Six
Sport Football

Achievements Michael, 17, captains his school team, who were B-grade boys' champions in the 2009-10 Yuen Long District Inter-school tournament. In this year's A-grade tournament, they were fourth. The school, in Tin Shui Wai, also won the 2010 New Territories Inter-school Beach Football Invitational.

Michael was in the youth team who were runners-up in last year's YMCA Sevens and fourth in the 2010 Jockey Club Scheme.

Soundbite 'Several years ago, I trained with a local club, but didn't like the sessions or the team's attitude,' Michael says.

'Many top district teams and clubs in Hong Kong focus only on winning titles. Some players make prizes their top priority. I don't feel they have any passion for the sport. So if the team don't achieve good results, players leave; there's no bonding.

'I want to play in a team of football lovers - results should come after that. So rather than join any big-name clubs, I stayed in my home district and joined Shui Bin Wai, an amateur team in Yuen Long. The players come from all walks of life.

'After finishing my HKDSE last month, my friends and I realised our dream and set up a team called Young Generation, which consists mainly of my schoolmates.

'Since we're all of a similar age, not every member is willing to accept comments and criticisms from others, and quarrels can happen from time to time.

'Unlike Shui Bin Wai, most of our players are students and don't have jobs.

'We don't have a regular income, but there are some basic costs for things like application fees and hiring referees when we play in small local league tournaments.

'I'm going to Toronto [in Canada] to study at the end of the month, but for now I'm still trying to sort things out before I leave.'

From his coach 'I've been coaching Michael since Form One, and I've seen his abilities grow in recent years,' says So Ka-leung, the teacher in charge of his school team.

'As the captain of the school team, he has devoted most of his spare time to team affairs.

'This year, he and two schoolmates helped our school to set up a football team for old boys and use the sport to keep graduates connected to the school.'

Ambitions 'I hope to continue playing football at my new school and in the community in Toronto,' Michael says.