Nixon set to make Eastern return
INJURY-jinxed Eastern star Paul Nixon, one of the best strikers in the territory, is set to make a comeback.
Nixon, sidelined with a hamstring injury for the past 10 months, is expected to pull on an Eastern shirt for the First Division clash against Kitchee on October 21.
Eastern manager Peter Leung Shou-chi said: 'He is getting in gear now. He will be a substitute for that game - and could even make the team.' Trainer Lee Ping-hung yesterday said that Nixon had completely recovered from the injury, but added that the New Zealander needs a couple of practice matches to build up his fitness.
But Nixon could not wait and played for an hour in yesterday's friendly 2-2 draw against the Singapore FA side when Tim O'Shea and Dale Tempest were on target for the Hong Kong champions.
'It's nice to play for 60 minutes,' said Nixon, reflecting on the games he was forced to watch from the sidelines in frustration last season.
'The only thing I have to do now is to get 100 per cent fit.
'I'll play more and more in the coming practice matches - until finally I can play for the whole game.' Nixon met up with former New Zealand national coach Doug Moore yesterday, who is now head coach of the Singapore team which lifted the Malaysian League title earlier this year.
Moore was impressed by Eastern's speedy foreign imports yesterday - but said that their presence hindered the development of the Chinese players.
'We have realised this problem in Singapore,' said Moore. 'We only have two expats on our books even though the Malaysian League allows three in each team.' Moore was the assistant coach of the Kiwi national side from 1978 to 1986 before moving to Kuwait.
He returned to New Zealand in 1991 to become national coach and then took up his post in Singapore last January.
Moore's friends in Hong Kong include Nixon and his Eastern teammate Brian Hayes as well as Rangers' new signing Darren Fellows.
In other news, World Cup champions Brazil are set to tour China next month - which could include an appearance in the territory.
South China have been invited to host a game at the end of November after the Brazilians have finished their two games on the mainland which are scheduled for November 17 and November 20.
But South China chairman Roger Lau Kwan-ming said that the closure of the Hong Kong Stadium would put this game in jeopardy.
The Brazilians, who have included star strikers Romario and Bebeto in their squad for China, are reported to have demanded a US$200,000 appearance fee as well as accommodation.
Meanwhile, Rangers have recruited Argentinian midfielder Hugo Ginenz and British striker Kevin Meacock.