Mounting injuries add to Valley's problems

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 February, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 February, 2004, 12:00am

Happy Valley coach Chan Hung-ping faces a selection headache ahead of the five-time Hong Kong champions' AFC Cup debut against Home United in Singapore tonight.

'We have injuries to several key players, including five regulars,' Chan said following his side's first training session at Bishan Stadium, home of the Singapore double winners and venue for Happy Valley's first match in the tournament.

Chan confirmed that versatile Cameroonian Gerard Ambassa Guy would not take part after he failed to recover from a hamstring injury he picked up in Valley's 1-0 League Cup win over South China.

Joining Ambassa Guy on the sidelines is influential midfielder Cheung Sai-ho. The Hong Kong international playmaker is still suffering from an ankle knock he sustained in the 2-2 draw with Buler Rangers, Valley's last match before arriving in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Chan will assess the fitness of veteran defender Leung Shing-kit today.

Valley's 33-year-old set-piece specialist has a thigh strain and failure to take his customary place alongside Colly Ezeh Barnes in Chan's 4-4-2 formation could see national team skipper Lee Wai-man move back from midfield to partner the Nigerian.

'With the injuries that we have I cannot say how we will do but all our players will be going out to get a result,' said Chan, whose team face a full-strength and in-form Home United.

'We have prepared well for this match,' said Home coach Steve Darby, whose side defeated AFC Champions League finalists BEC Tero Sasana (4-2) and reigning league champions Krung Thai Bank (2-0) on a pre-season tour of Thailand. 'I can't say I know a lot about Happy Valley other than what I have seen on tapes and any team can look like Brazil depending on what tape you watch,' joked the Englishman. 'They are a well-organised side but of course wouldn't be champions of Hong Kong if they weren't.'

Home United last met Hong Kong opposition when they were beaten 3-2 on aggregate by South China in the last AFC Champions League, but Darby insists it is a new look 'Protectors' side. 'There are only five players remaining from the team that lost to South China and the guys are fired up for the game against,' he said.