Nakata the star of the show as players pitch in for charity

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 June, 2011, 12:00am


Former Japanese international Hidetoshi Nakata played for both Hong Kong champions Kitchee and their Spanish opponents, Villarreal, in last Friday's Canon Cup fund-raiser in aid of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief efforts at Hong Kong Stadium.

Nakata, 34, who retired in 2006, played one half for each team in the 3-0 win by Villarreal. His shirt had number 80 on the back to celebrate Kitchee's 80th anniversary.

Four Young Post junior reporters were invited to report on the match.

George Jones, 17, Renaissance College

Thanks to Young Post, I had front-row seats - and a VIP pass for the press conference. I had a prime view - perfect for taking photographs.

The first half was particularly tight, with football legend Nakata looking dangerous for Kitchee. Villarreal's Marco Senna opened the scoring in the 56th minute with a spectacular long-range shot that left Kitchee's goalkeeper helpless. Second-half goals by Manuel Trigueros Munoz and Fofo, in the closing minutes, ensured a deserved win for the visitors. But Kitchee should be proud that they made the game a real contest for long periods against a team that plays in the European Champions League.

Andy Chu, 17, Carmel Divine Grace Foundation Secondary School

I was sitting so close to the tunnel that I could clearly see Villarreal's star players like Marco Senna and Santi Cazorla. It was incredible to be so close, rather than seeing them only on a television screen.

In the first half, about 20official Villarreal scarves were thrown into the crowd. The lucky few who could grab one sang and chanted extra loudly for Villarreal. Hong Kong fans can be as crazy as Latin fans.

Everyone at the press conference except for George and I were real reporters. I was nervous, but then I remembered the advice of Young Post reporter Kevin Kung: grab the chance and be confident. I asked Ken Ng, Kitchee's general manager, a question. It is not easy thinking up questions and then jotting down what is said as fast and as accurately as possible.

Ruby Leung, 14, Maryknoll Convent School

Despite being only half full, Hong Kong Stadium reverberated with cries of joy and excitement during the game.

There were parents with their children, die-hard fans screaming at the top of their lungs - and people like me who wanted to cheer and enjoy a hot dog.

The crowd was crying out for a goal and their wishes came true in the 56th minute when Villarreal captain Marcos Senna scored.

When the big screen above us showed the word 'GOAL!', everybody in the stadium stood up and cheered.

This was the first live football match I've ever been to. I really enjoyed the atmosphere - and fought to grab one of the towels the players threw into the crowd.

Karen Poon Kei-wai, 16, SKH Tsoi Kung Po Secondary School

The match attracted more than 7,000 football fans. It was a great chance to see Villarreal showing their football skills - and also their support for Japan after the tsunami and nuclear plant radiation leaks.

Villarreal passed the ball accurately with real pace. It is hard to find teams playing at this level in local football.

The star of the night was Hidetoshi Nakata; he lifted the atmosphere with his personality.

Kitchee lost, but importantly, they gained great experience by playing against such a quality team.