EAG 13 aim to do more than make up the numbers
Newly created EAG 13 (East Asian Games 2013) will not be making up the numbers in the First Division but providing a serious examination for Hong Kong's future stars.
'The team will have a healthy budget of over HK$4 million a year and we have also appointed a top-class coach,' Hong Kong Football Association chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak said at the team's first practice session in Shek Kip Mei yesterday. 'We do not expect this to be a one-off project - finishing after the 2013 EAG - but a long-term commitment for the betterment of our young players.'
Paul Foster, who coached Football Club last season, will be in charge of the team and the former Hong Kong league top scorer (1995-97) will be assisted by Hong Kong team assistant coach Liu Chun-fai.
Squad members include promising youngsters Iu Wai, Tse Tin-yau and Lam Hok-hei from Fourway Rangers; Tin Man-ho, Cheung Chun-wai and Kot Cho-wai from South China; Tsang Chi-hao and Tsang Kin-fong from Kitchee, and Jing Teng and Yau Yu-ming from Tai Po.
They will be boosted by three foreign players, including midfielder Mbende Mbome, a key player for Pegasus last season.
The other two new faces were recommended by Kitchee coach Josep Gombau - central defender Andreu Ramos, a graduate of the FC Barcelona Academy who has played for Scottish Premiership side Hamilton Accies and Eden Esquerre, a 187cm striker who was with Spanish third-division side Amposta last season.
'We have a strong set-up in coaching and staff management and although we do not expect them to challenge the likes of South China or Kitchee, we do want to see them on a par with district clubs like Tai Po, Tuen Mun and Sham Shui Po,' Leung said.
Mutual, who played under the name of Pontic in the second division last season and finished second, subsequently withdrew their right to take promotion two weeks ago, allowing the HKFA to create the EAG 13 side before the league season kicks off next week.