Sun Hei bank on former FA Cup hero for success

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 July, 2006, 12:00am

Xiangxue Sun Hei hope the magic of the English FA Cup can rub off on them in the shape of the club's latest signing.

Sun Hei, who made a clean sweep of all four domestic titles in the 2004-05 season, but managed to retain only one of them last season, are aiming to regain their ascendancy and have secured former Wycombe Wanderers striker Roy Essendoh to that end.

The 31-year-old Northern Irishman made his own little bit of Cup history in 2003 when his goal helped then Second Division Wycombe beat Premier League side Leicester City in the quarter-finals of the venerable competition. Wycombe fell to Liverpool at the next hurdle but their run helped contribute to the legendary romance of the Cup, which some commentators had felt was in decline.

Essendoh's personal triumph was all the greater because Wycombe had only signed him after seeing his services advertised on the UK's Teletext television messaging service.

His moment in the sun was brief, however, as he left Wycombe after that season and has been playing outside the football league for the likes of Cambridge United, Bishop's Stortford and Gravesend.

The 1.88m striker will arrive in Hong Kong early next month and may represent Sun Hei in the AFC Cup quarter-finals against Lebanon side Al Faisaly.

His partner in Hong Kong will be Brazilian Marcio Anacleto, who is making a return to Sun Hei after playing for Rangers for the second half of last season.

'We hope the new combination will work and bring the team some fresh attacking ideas,' said team convenor Vincent Chow Man-hei.