Stars of tomorrow go on show today

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 February, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 February, 2001, 12:00am

You won't recognise any of the players but organisers of the Football of the Future under-20 tournament which starts today believe spectators have the chance to see stars in the making at Hong Kong Stadium.

Hong Kong Football Association vice-president Ken Ng admitted there were no major stars in the four-team event that features South American youth champions Brazil, perennial rivals Argentina, Japan and China, but by the same token, spectators could see the emergence of another Ronaldo or Ronaldino and be able to say in a few years: 'I saw him in Hong Kong.'

Ng said: 'It will be a chance to see South American football at its best and, who knows, we might get to see another Ronaldo? At least the spectators can say that they saw this player in Hong Kong first.'

Brazilian youth head coach Eraldo Torres said any member of his quality team had the potential to become major stars in the future, saying superstars such as Ronaldo and Ronaldino had first made their mark at youth level before launching themselves on to the world stage.

'If they continue to work hard and commit themselves to the game, then there's no reason that any of these players cannot become great players in the near future,' said Torres.

He said there were 1,000 professional teams in Brazil alone and that the abundance of talent in the world's most famous soccer nation made it hard for players to hold down a regular place - at any level.

'We have many talented players all over the country and sometimes it is hard to select the right team. For instance, we have different teams that played in the New Zealand under-17 Cup and the South American Cup.

'We will filter the team and find out which is the best one for the World Youth Cup finals [in Argentina in June],' he said.

The tournament, which acts as a warm-up for those World Youth Cup finals will kick off with a match between Brazil and Japan at 5.45pm, followed by Argentina versus China at 8pm.