Sao Paulo to appear in HK
By UNUS ALLADIN
BRAZILIAN giants Sao Paulo will appear in the territory afterall.
According to sources close to the deal, South China have agreed to the world club champions' $1.5 million appearance fee to play against the Caroliners on April 1 at the Hong Kong Stadium.
Sao Paulo had been replaced by another Brazilian team, Gremio, for the exhibition match against Dutch side Feyenoord on March 13 also at the Hong Kong Stadium, but South China are very close to a deal with the Brazilians who will be flying off to Tokyo for the invitational Kirin Cup on April 3.
Sources said South China will be taking advantage of Sao Paulo's appearance in Tokyo as they could minimise the huge cost of flying a team over here from South America.
South China officials have refused to confirm Sao Paulo's appearance but had hinted that spectators were guaranteed a top-class side.
Sao Paulo, coached by Tele Santana, include in their line-up international strikers Palhinha and Muller and veteran midfielder Toninho Cerezo, who was part of Brazil's four-man midfield in the 1982 World Cup in Spain, along with Zico, Falcao and Socrates.
The South Americans will be making their second appearance in Tokyo having retained their Intercontinental Cup title last December by defeating AC Milan 3-2.
On the domestic front, Happy Valley's recent roller-coaster ride in the Hong Kong First Division took another downward turn when they were held to a goalless draw by relegation-threatened Voicelink at chilly Mongkok Stadium last night.
Happy Valley, who were on a crest of a wave after their shock 3-2 defeat of champions Eastern last month, have failed to hold their recent form, drawing with Kui Tan 1-1 after having disposed of the same team 3-0 in their previous match.
And their latest disappointment was against a side fighting to stay in the top flight, languishing second from the bottom in the 10-team standings.