Caroliners boss Lo cries foul over captain's injury
South China chief Steven Lo Kit-sing was unhappy after his captain, Chan Wai-ho, picked up an injury playing for Hong Kong on Wednesday, but admitted that had little to do with the team's miserable 1-1 draw against bottom side Sham Shui Po in the BMA First Division yesterday.
The Caroliners boss did not want to blame outright the Hong Kong team coaching staff for his captain's absence from the match, but made his feelings plain, in an example of the local politics to which new national coach Ernie Merrick will have to become accustomed.
'We know Wai-ho is a key player for the Hong Kong team, but he's not indispensable. He twice asked to leave the field because of injury but was not allowed,' Lo said. 'At that time Hong Kong were leading Taiwan 4-1 and there were a number of alternatives for central defence like Ng Wai-chiu or Bai He.
'He could not train with the club after Wednesday's match and was not even among our substitutes today. I am not blaming anyone but hope this will not happen again. Otherwise the club will feel uncomfortable working with the Hong Kong team.'
Chan, who is also captain of South China, played the full 90 minutes for Hong Kong despite a painful ankle.
It could have been even more disastrous for the Caroliners yesterday had Sham Shui Po converted one of the chances they created in the closing stages at Hong Kong Stadium.
Lau Cheuk-hin and Cristian Gonzalez both came close after South China went down to 10 men, midfielder Bai He being shown the door for a second booking in the 59th minute. However, Sham Shui Po managed just the one goal, through Lau's free kick in the 80th minute. Lee Wai-lim had put the Caroliners ahead in the first half, also through a set piece.
South China remain in third place after the draw, but are already five points behind leaders Kitchee.
Elsewhere, Tuen Mun scored their first victory in seven matches, defeating Sunray Cave Sun Hei 2-1.