SAR footballers face China at Games
The National football teams from Hong Kong, China, North Korea and hosts Macau have been drawn in the same group at the fourth East Asian Games which kicks off on October 29.
The top two teams from Group B will join the winner and runner-up from Group A - which features Japan, South Korea and Chinese Taipei - in the semi-finals. Guam and Mongolia - the other two countries taking part in the Games - will not compete in the sport.
The SAR will first play North Korea, then Macau and finally China on November 1.
Head coach Kenny Lai Sun-cheung is happy with the draw as they will play China in the last round-robin game.
'China are definitely the strongest team in the pool. We should be able to beat Macau, so it all depends on the match against the North Koreans,' said Lai.
Hong Kong will be represented by First Division newcomers Hong Kong 2008 - made up of under-23 players - and some players from relegated side Xiangxue Pharmaceutical.
'Playing against the First Division teams regularly will help us prepare for the East Asian Games and later the 2008 Beijing Olympic qualifiers,' Lai added.
'Some of our players have been signed up by other clubs. I'm sure they will be able to learn a lot from the more experienced players.'
The 'exports' include Kwok Kin-pong (to South China), Li Hang-wui (Citizen), Kwok Wing-lok and Cheng Lai-hin (both Kitchee), as well as Leung Kam-fai (Happy Valley).
Lai will also call up forward Cheng Siu-wai, who joined South China last season.
'Siu-wai is the best all-round forward we have had in the past seven or eight years. I've also selected him for the senior national squad and he hasn't disappointed me so far,' Lai said.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) has launched a recruitment campaign for its Junior Fans Club. If you are aged between four and 15, you may download the application form at www.hkfa.com.
Club members, who will each receive a souvenir T-shirt, will be given priority for HKFA's summer football programmes. They will also be able to take part - free of charge - in football fun days and some local matches.
In addition, the HKFA may invite junior fans to accompany the players to the field, or even attend international games.
The annual membership fee is $100.
For enquiries, call 2711 1921 during office hours.