All change at Kitchee as underachievers inject fresh blood

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 May, 2008, 12:00am

Kitchee will undergo a major personnel shake-up as they seek to rebound from their trophyless season.

The changes start at the top where they have appointed Chilean coach Julio Morano to take charge for the coming season. They have also targeted a striker from Germany and an Australian goalkeeper to strengthen the squad.

Four existing foreign players - Goran Stankovski, Anderson da Silva, Ivan Jevic and Julius Akosah, are not expected to have their contracts renewed for the new season.

Former Macedonia international Stankovski has established himself in his first season in Hong Kong, netting 10 goals for Kitchee and scoring both goals for the Hong Kong League XI when they beat Croatian side Hajduk Split 2-1 in the final of the Lunar New Year tournament.

He also earned plaudits from Manchester City coach Sven Goran Eriksson when inspiring a South China Invitation team to a 3-1 victory over the England Premier League side in Hong Kong last week.

'We have suffered a disappointing season in terms of results and are eager to make amends in the new season with an improved side,' Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin said. 'However, all our players are contracted until next month and therefore it is too early to say at this stage who will stay and who will not.

'But we are determined to do well next season. We have appointed a new coach who is now working on a plan which will include bringing in some quality players from overseas. We will also sign some promising youngsters and I am sure we can put together a strong team with the ability to challenge for all the major titles next season.'

New coach Morano was an assistant in the China national squad set-up in the days of Bora Milutinovic and Ng hoped his experience of working in this part of the world could help them bring success next season.

Meanwhile, South China coach Jose Luis will part ways with the club, despite leading them to two trophies this season.

'I had a meeting with the management this week and the decision is I will not stay with the club,' Luis said yesterday.

'I have had some very good times in Hong Kong, helping South China to win the League championship and the League Cup.

'Also I helped the League XI to victory in the Lunar New Year Cup. Football is like this.'

Casemiro Mior, who helped South China to three titles the season before, was sacked by South China last summer before the arrival of Luis. He later joined Eastern, where he helped them lift the Senior Shield.