Ambitious Kitchee line up mainlanders

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 October, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 October, 2003, 12:00am

Newly promoted First Division side Kitchee are to bolster their squad with three players from mainland superpowers Dalian Shide. The Hong Kong side have signed three youngsters from the seven-time Chinese champions on a year's loan.

The three, who are all 18 years old, are left midfielder Li Gen, defensive midfielder Liu Quankun and central defender Pan Jidong. 'They're good young players and at this moment they're already strong enough to play in Hong Kong football. Of course, technique is no problem with Chinese players, but Liu and Pan are big guys,' said Kitchee administrative manager Michael Sek.

'They're not Dalian's best young players, those are already in the national youth team and Dalian weren't willing to release any of the players with a chance of representing China, but these are the best of the rest. We're going to give them competitive experience.'

Kitchee are still awaiting clearance from Hong Kong immigration for the trio to join the club officially. However, they will get an early taste of the talent they're borrowing after today's game with Xiangxue Pharmaceutical in Guangzhou as the club are remaining in Guangdong until next Sunday's game in Dongguan against Nancheng Real Estate and the newcomers will join up with the squad and train with them for that period.

The deal for the youngsters has been brokered by HKFA chairman Martin Hong Po-kui and Ken Ng, one of the FA's board of directors and Kitchee's managing director, and could lead to the mainlanders representing Hong Kong in the near future.'They're suitable for the Beijing Olympics, because Hong Kong is a special region of China, if they work in Hong Kong and have an ID card they can represent Hong Kong,' Sek explained.