South China's Caca aims for starring role
By scoring with his first touch of the ball in Hong Kong, Carlos Eduardo Ferrari (aka Caca) not only lived up to his famous namesake, but also to his billing as a feared striker.
The South China and Pegasus combination will be hoping Caca can produce his magic again tonight when the home favourites take on Czech champions Sparta Prague in the final of the Lunar New Year tournament at Hong Kong Stadium.
'Caca showed what he can do in the first game and he will get better,' warned coach Kim Pan-gon after his team scraped past the Hong Kong League XI in a penalty shootout on the opening day of the competition on Monday.
Caca, who will play for South China for the next six months, has been recruited to boost their firepower in the league and the forthcoming AFC Cup.
He started on the bench, coming on in the second half. In just 45 seconds he made his mark with a solid header from a well-taken corner by Pegasus' Manoel Santos which enabled South China/Pegasus to draw level at 1-1 and force the game into a penalty shootout.
The 29-year-old Brazilian forward only arrived last week but already has huge expectations on his shoulders. He has had stints with Glasgow Rangers, Birmingham City and Spanish sides Salamanca, Albacete and Las Palmas.
'I believe we can win this competition. I'm new in Hong Kong and it was nice to score with my first touch of the ball. I hope this is the first of many goals for my new club South China,' said Caca.
His more famous namesake, Brazilian superstar Kaka, might be among the world's richest players, but Caca is believed to be Hong Kong's most expensive player.
'He is now possibly the highest-paid footballer in Hong Kong and he has amazing skills,' South China boss Steven Lo Kit-shing said when news first broke of Caca's signing.
Lo will have been pleased to see that decision being vindicated.
Caca will have plenty of help up front with the ever-dangerous pair of Detinho and Tales Schutz lurking.
Despite a poor turnout on Monday - only 7,591 paying fans - organisers will be hopeful of a bigger crowd now South China - and Pegasus - are in the final.
'We are the face of Hong Kong football and we will do our best,' pledged coach Kim.
Sparta Prague, who will be led by ex-Liverpool midfielder Patrik Berger, also pledged to raise their game for the decider. They won through after defeating South Korean side Suwon Bluewings in a penalty shootout after the game ended in a listless 0-0 tie.
'We didn't play all that well in our first match, but it was only our third game together as a team this season. We can only get better,' said Sparta Prague head coach Jozef Chovanec.
In the third-place play-off, Suwon will take on the Hong Kong League XI.