New Caroliners coach reserves judgment on team prospects

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 July, 2007, 12:00am

South China's new coach Jose Luis Lopes da Costa has arrived in Hong Kong and was quick to point out that he needs more time to study his new squad before making predictions for the new season.

Lopes da Costa appeared at his first training session with the Caroliners yesterday morning before leaving with the squad in the afternoon for a week-long training camp in Macau as part of their build-up for the Barclays Asia Trophy in two weeks.

'I need more time to get to know my players,' said the 49-year-old, a four-time Portugal international. 'But I must stress that I take the players' attitude and discipline very seriously and they have to give 100 per cent in training as well as in matches.'

Lopes da Costa was hurriedly hired after South China's first choice - Joaquim Monteiro, also from Portugal - failed to show up after requesting an additional amount of money to buy him out of his contract with a lower-division Portuguese club.

Lopes da Costa expects to find out more about his charges in Friday's friendly match against Macau. South China will take on Liverpool in the Asia Trophy on July 24. The ex-Benfica player also has coached East Timor and the Sabah team in Malaysia.

South China, meanwhile, have signed Fan Weijun from Rangers to replace retired striker Au Wai-lun.