Hong Kong soccer coach Kim Pan-gon calls for extra training

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 3:53am

Caretaker coach Kim Pan-gon said even Manchester United supremo Alex Ferguson could not help the Hong Kong team if there was only one training session a week.

Kim held his second consecutive day of practice yesterday at Football Club, where he defended his decision to have two sessions a week.

"My plan is if there are no games over the weekend, we need two practice sessions a week for the national team," said the Korean, who was appointed interim coach to prepare for Hong Kong's 2015 Asian Cup qualifiers, kicking off with an away match against Uzbekistan on February 6.

"If we have a competitive league, we may only need one training session a week or even fewer. But at the moment, we need more training because the quality of our league is not strong enough. Even if we brought Alex Ferguson here but had just one practice session a week, I don't know that he could do much good."

Players from defending champions Kitchee did not attend the first training session on Monday, but showed up yesterday, including fullback Lo Kwan-yee and midfielders Huang Yang, Chu Siu-kei and Chan Man-fai. Their new leftback, Cheung Kin-fung, also attended after clearing his transfer from Sunray Cave Sun Hei.

Earlier, Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin said the team would release their players for the national practice only once a week because of a hectic schedule, including AFC Cup fixtures starting late next month.

Hong Kong will play five Asian Cup qualifying matches this year against Uzbekistan, Vietnam and United Arab Emirates in group E.

Kim also plans to play three friendlies. "We are looking at teams such as Thailand and Qatar as they are stronger than us," said Kim. "We have to play against quality opposition if we are to improve."