Kwok to sign up as Dickies manager
Former Hong Kong national coach Kwok Ka-ming has done something he has never done before: he has become manager of a local First Division side.
Joining former league champions Instant-Dict, the one-time Hong Kong Sports Institute head coach is one of two key signings for the club.
South China striker Ricky Cheng Siu-chung, a former Hong Kong Footballer of the Year, has also joined Instant-Dict on a two-year contract.
Kwok's contract was not revealed during yesterday press conference, but it is understood the 50-year-old will be with the Dickies for at least one season. It's the first time Kwok had signed with a club as manager.
'I came close a few years ago when Caroline Hill asked me on three occasions to join them. I was player-coach with Caroline Hill in 1979 but never manager,' said Kwok, whose last full time job was FIFA technical adviser.
' This is a big challenge for me and I look forward to it. Instant-Dict last played in the relegation play-off during the past two seasons. I hope to raise the standard of my team. This is one of my long term goals,' he said.
Instant-Dict have slashed their budget from $11 million to $9 million next season. Only two foreign players have been guaranteed places next season - Indonesian forward Rochi Putiray and Serbian defender Dejan Antonic.
Kwok will also take charge of coaching duties with Instant-Dict. He hopes the Hong Kong FA will arrange next season's fixtures in such a way that his team get to play three games in two weeks.
'This is the only way to improve. If clubs don't play regularly, they may lose their fitness. I also hope the Hong Kong FA will make their schedule early so that the players know well in advance when they will play well. I think Hong Kong is the only place in the world where there are last-minute changes in the schedule,' he said.
Kwok was first appointed national coach in 1982. He left his post in 1990 only to make a comeback in 1997. He was then replaced in November 1997 by Brazilian Sebastiao Araujo.
In 1985, Kwok coached Hong Kong to a historic 2-1 win over China in a World Cup qualifier.