Hong Kong soccer coach calls it quits
Hong Kong national coach Ernie Merrick has stepped down from his position. The Hong Kong Football Association in a brief statement said on Friday that both parties had “mutually agreed” to the decision that the former Australian A-League coach should leave.
“The Hong Kong Football Association and Ernie Merrick have mutually agreed and decided that it is in the best interest of the future of football in Hong Kong for Ernie to leave his position as Head Coach with immediate effect.
Both parties wish each other well in the future and no further statement will be issued by either party.
The Hong Kong Football Association said it was still committed to Project Phoenix and to driving forward the plans to advance the sport of football.
“Contingency plans are being put in place to manage the Hong Kong Representative Teams and a further announcement will be made in due course,” the statement added.
Merrick took over the reins in January and was in charge for six games, ending with a 3-3 record. Significantly his last three matches in charge all ended in defeat, the worst being a 3-0 loss to Malaysia earlier this month.
Soon after, Merrick took a swipe at senior HKFA board director Ken Ng who had criticised the coach’s playing formation in his personal blog.
Merrick’s departure follows that of former chief executive Gordon McKie, who resigned earlier this year after just six months in the job. Both Merrick and McKie were hired as part of the government-backed Project Phoenix which is aimed to reviving the fortunes of the local game.