Head swimming coach Chan Yiu-hoi is expecting an overseas trainer to take over his position when he retires early next year.
"It will be difficult to find a suitable local candidate as many of the coaches in Hong Kong are involved in their own swimming club businesses," said Chan.
"The head coach role means dealing with the selection of swimmers for international competitions and whatever decision a local coach makes, his selections will come under scrutiny. People may wonder if he is favouring swimmers from his own club - the job is not easy. I've been working at the Sports Institute since 1982 and have little involvement in private clubs. That's why I've been in this job for so long."
Chan joined the Sports Institute as a swimming coach 30 years ago when the training complex opened in Fo Tan. He was the assistant to British coach David Haller and then Bill Sweetenham of Australia. When Sweetenham left the institute in 1995, Chan was given the top job.
Chan will step down at the end of March, when he reaches the retirement age of 60.
The deadline to apply for the post was Sunday and it is believed one of the high-profile applicants so far is former China head coach Zhao Ge.
The 53-year-old coached the mainland team from 2000 to 2005 before returning to Guangdong to train the provincial team.
He was the one who drafted freestyle swimmer Zhang Lin into the national squad and Zhang won the first Olympic medal for the China men's team when he took silver in the 400-metre freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Games.
The annual pay package of a head coach at the Sports Institute can be worth up to HK$1.64 million.