Caroliners to spend big in quest for success
Champions South China are banking on international success to offset their massive budget for the new season.
Convener Steve Lo Kit-sing disclosed yesterday they were expecting to spend HK$20 million next season on acquiring three quality overseas players and several high-profile local players as they prepare for the AFC Cup knockout stage - an increase of more than HK$5 million on the just-concluded season.
'We want to become the first team from Hong Kong to win a regional cup tournament, and in order to achieve our goal, we have to strengthen the squad by spending more on the players, both on the numbers and salary,' said Lo, who yesterday announced ticketing details for their international friendly match against English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur on August 2.
Lo said earlier each new foreign player would cost the club over US$200,000 a season.
The Caroliners have a home quarter-final in the AFC Cup. If they win it, the semi-final would also be at Hong Kong Stadium, as would be the final, meaning healthy gate takings for the club. Perhaps more importantly, a place in the final would mean they would be able to compete at the highest level of regional competition - the AFC Champions League next season.
'The Champions League kicks off next March, and I am sure it will attract a lot of spectators to watch our home matches against top teams from Asia,' said Lo.
'Gate receipts are always pivotal to a club's revenue.'
Lo confirmed the acquisition of the first of their three new foreign signings yesterday, Brazilian Luiz Carlos, who played for Portuguese Second Division side Leiria last season. The 1.91-metre centre-half will replace the outgoing Sidrailson. Lo said he hoped to finalise deals with one midfielder and one striker before they start their first training session on July 15. With forward Tales Schutz staying with the club, South China will employ a total of four foreign players next season.
Meanwhile, tickets for the Panasonic Cup, to be contested by South China and Spurs, will range from HK$100 to HK$250 and will be available to the public at Hong Kong stadium from July 25.