We'll splash cash again on talent, Caroliners say
South China will continue to splash the cash despite a disappointing year in which they lost their league championship crown and failed to win a berth in next season's AFC Cup.
'I don't think we are going to downsize our budget,' team convenor Steven Lo Kit-sing said. 'We learned a lesson this season of missing two important targets, but we will come back even stronger.
'Although we won't be competing in the AFC Cup, we have set sights on winning all domestic titles next season and need a strong squad to do this against so many teams who have been steadily improving over the past couple of seasons.'
The domestic powerhouses spent close to HK$30 million this season, including on recruiting two top foreign players.
But former Serbia international Mateja Kezman, who was on a contract of over HK$1 million per month, returned home yesterday after helping the team clinch the consolation prize of the FA Cup, while former Manchester United star Nicky Butt left the team quietly earlier this month after they were eliminated in the AFC Cup group stage.
Nevertheless, Lo said he would not have any hesitation in spending big money again on top-class players if he could find the right targets to help them deliver results.
'We are looking for three new players from overseas, and if we find the suitable candidates, we won't save our money,' he said.
'We are collecting information from the agent and will leave the decision for the new coach.'
Chan Ho-yin, who replaced Kim Pan-gon as head coach in December, will remain on the coaching staff to work with a new head coach from overseas. 'We are considering a number of options from either South Korea or Germany,' Lo said. 'The coaches there are well-known for discipline and team tactics. We will make a decision soon as we start our pre-season in early July. Once we have confirmed the head coach, we will ask his advice on the new foreign players.'
Lo said they would retain most of the existing players, including foreigners Giovane da Silva, Joel Bertoti and Wellingsson de Souza, as they are all contracted until next season.
Budget of rivals Kitchee, in HK dollars, compared to South China's reputed HK$30 million