Hong Kong face Maldives with eye on the goal - the Olympics

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 March, 2011, 12:00am

Hong Kong coach Tsang Wai-chung has urged his charges to set their sights on the group stage of the 2012 London Olympics Asian zone qualifiers as they face Maldives in the return leg of the first round today.

Having won the home leg 4-0 two weeks ago, Hong Kong already have one foot in the next stage, where they will then be fighting for places in the group stage.

'We have the quality to make it into the third round and the players must believe in themselves,' said Tsang, who ends his 11-month contract this month.

'We should not only look at the second round but set a higher target, or we will never improve.'

The second round will feature 24 teams and the winners of the 12 matches - played on a home-and-away basis - will reach the group stage.

They will then be divided into three groups, with the winners of each group qualifying for the London Games.

Tai Po striker To Hon-to, who scored after just 25 seconds in the home leg, will keep his position as the coach is looking for fast players to counter-attack the Indian Ocean islanders. Lam Hok-hei of Fourway Rangers and Citizen's Tam Lok-hin will be the other choices up front.

'They are likely to attack from the start in order to make up the deficit, which will give us a lot more space for fast breaks,' Tsang said. 'If we take the opportunities, we can score another victory.'

The temperature in Male is around 30 degrees Celsius and the players had adjusted after two practice sessions, Tsang added.