Cordeiro escapes Caroliners purge

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 July, 2002, 12:00am

FA Cup and League Cup winners South China will kick off the new season in September with just a single foreign import - 2000-2001 Hong Kong Footballer of the Year Cristiano Cordeiro - in a move to keep a tight budget.

The Brazilian defender became the only foreign player to remain at the club after South China decided against renewing the contracts of Brazilian coach Casemiro Mior and Slovak forward Martin Jancula at the end of last season while Brazilian winger Aderbal Filho accepted an offer from a Greek club.

South China director Peter Leung Shou-chi said they have had no plan for any new signings as they have decided to slash the team budget to $7 million from last season's $12 million.

'I can't remember when we last signed only one foreign player at the start of the season. We normally hire a few at a time. We have to spend carefully as the economy hasn't yet recovered and the fans still stay away,' Leung said.

Leung added: 'Hopefully, we can get a sponsor soon so we will be able to sign a few more later.' Each team are allowed four foreign players.

The Caroliners will still be a force to be reckoned with as they are boosted by a strong base of local players, including skipper and defender Yau Kin-wai, forwards Au Wai-lun and Chan Ho-man. They also signed midfielders Kwok Man-tik and Chan Chi-hong from Happy Valley.

Defending league champions Sun Hei aim to field four foreign players but remain cost-conscious by opting to sign Nigerian players, who cost less, after a few foreign imports including reigning Footballer of the Year Gary McKeown left the SAR in May. Having signed Nigerian striker Cornelius Udebuluzor, who had played for the club before joining Rangers last season, Sun Hei are looking to sign two of three former Nigerian national youth players in Richard Edougha, John Aranka and Lanre Ugbejobe when the trio come to Hong Kong for trial in two weeks.