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HONG KONG

Kitchee boss Ken Ng blasts 'terrible pitch' at Aberdeen Sports Ground

Kitchee boss says youth development and pro teams are being hampered by government policy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 November, 2013, 9:37pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 November, 2013, 10:07pm
 

Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin slammed the government's policy of venue usage after watching his side scrape a 1-0 win over Royal Southern in the RedMR First Division yesterday.

Jorge Tarres converted an early spot kick to set up the victory on a well-below standard pitch at Aberdeen Sports Ground.

Frequent public use had damaged the pitch and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department's remedial action was to spread sand on affected areas before the match.

Kitchee, whose fluid passing game has made them the most formidable force in domestic soccer, were never able to come to terms with the surface in front of the 580 fans. Ng did not blame his side, saying it was almost impossible to control the ball.

"It was very difficult for the players to deliver," said Ng, who is also on the Football Association board of directors. "The Aberdeen ground is frequently used by the public and other organisations and professional teams have to share with them and that why's the pitch quality is so terrible.

"Under the current policy, professional soccer and the public have equal chance to use soccer venues as the government wants to be fair to all parties. But we all know it won't work for professional sport because abundant public usage makes it difficult for ground maintenance.

The venue problem also hampers youth development, Ng said. "All our youngsters are training on terrible surfaces so how can you expect them to acquire good skills," said Ng.

"This problem cannot be resolved unless the government is willing to change its hiring policy to give professional soccer priority."

Ng also refused to comment on the government's plan to close Hong Kong Stadium from April 2014 for one year to rebuild the pitch and drainage system.

"I have not read the report on the renovation plan and therefore cannot comment," he said.

"But we have recently been notified the new Singapore National Stadium will be using a new technology of artificial turf which can shorten the construction period and withstand longer usage.

"We will study it and pass the information to the government."

Kitchee moved to the top of the table after the victory with 16 points, two ahead of South China and with one game in hand.

In another First Division match, Eastern Salon beat Happy Valley 2-0 at Shing Mun Valley Sports Ground.

In the Canbo Senior Shield, meanwhile, Sun Pegasus trounced Yokohama FC 4-1 to set up a second-round tie against Happy Valley.

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