Chance to train in UK

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 July, 2007, 12:00am

Hundreds of young local football players are making final preparations for this weekend's adidas +Challenge extravaganza at Tsim Sha Tsui Drive-in Theatre to win the chance to train with Liverpool FC in the UK.

The tournament, which was first held last year, aims to promote a love of playing football among local young people. It is open to teenagers aged 13 to 16. A total of 144 teams in two age groups - 13-14 and 15-16 - have signed up to compete.

Apart from HK$4,500 cash coupons, the top three teams in the 15-16 age group will represent Hong Kong in the adidas +Challenge Asian Finals, which will be held in Hong Kong next Thursday.

They will compete against talented young players from Asia for the top prize of a trip to Liverpool.

Meanwhile in the 13-14 age group, the champion, first and second runner-up teams will receive HK$6,000, HK$4,500 and HK$3,000 cash coupons respectively.

But the path to victory is tough. In the first qualifying stage, teams are divided into groups of three.

Each team has to take part in a five-a-side match and two one-on-one matches with the two other teams.

The winning teams in each group advance to the second stage, a knockout round.

But HKRSS Tai Po Secondary School's girls have kept high morale, according to team captain So Wan-lai.

'We all know that we will face strong competitors but we're pretty excited about it. I am confident that we can at least win one match.'

Their coach Mr Chang Chi Fung has been pushing both the boys' and girls' teams hard.

'We've had lots of intensive practices. We focus on team cooperation and our goal is to advance to second stage,' he said.

The 13-14 age group games will take place on Saturday, July 21, with the 15-16 age group matches happening on Sunday, July 22. The adidas +Challenge 2007 Asian Finals is on Thursday, July 26.