'Come and watch' plea

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 February, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong chief Brian Leung Hung-tak urged fans to brave the cold temperatures and turn out in full force for this evening's showdown between the Hong Kong League XI and Hadjuk Split.

'I hope we get a bigger crowd than on the first night. I'm sure we will get more people turning out because Hong Kong is in the final and it would be great for them to come out and support the home team,' said Leung, chairman of the Hong Kong Football Association.

A disappointing 9,279 crowd turned up on the first day. Of this number, only 5,070 paid for their tickets - the rest were mostly invitees of the HKFA including a large number of old-age pensioners - resulting in gate receipts of HK$1,005,610.

HKFA officials will be hoping for at least a half-full Hong Kong Stadium if they are to emerge with any sort of a profit from this tournament, which for the first time in many years hasn't seen the participation of national teams.

'The cold weather kept many people away on the first night. I hope they will come out today,' Leung said. 'It has been a long time since we won the cup and we are keen to do it this time.'

Unlike in past years, officials selected a team from the cream of the First Division - which included expatriate players - instead of sticking to players eligible for the Hong Kong national team. This has resulted in one of the best teams to represent the Hong Kong League XI in a long time.

'We have gathered the best local and expatriate players and with home ground advantage, are confident of victory,' Leung added.