Kim Pan-gon appointed Hong Kong head coach until December 2015

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 5:46am

Kim Pan-gon has been appointed Hong Kong head coach on a deal lasting until December 2015, beyond the scheduled end of the government-funded Project Phoenix that pays for the role.

The Korean has been interim coach since the sudden departure of Australian Ernie Merrick in November.

The head coach job is one of the initiatives of Project Phoenix, aiming to revitalise local soccer, but scheduled to end in November next year after three years.

"We hope it will continue beyond November 2014," said Hong Kong Football Association chief executive Mark Sutcliffe. "But if it isn't being extended, we will have to review the situation.

"I am not saying we will have to terminate Kim's contract if we are not getting government money, but we just need to review how we can afford to keep his position because we have to identify resources from somewhere else - the association or commercial sponsors.

"We reckon it's important to give him a long enough and reasonable deal like head coaches around the world will get, as we need that period of time to put the influence on things."

Hong Kong's international ranking has gone from a historic low of 172 when Kim first started to 151, and the team have started their qualification campaign for the 2015 Asian Cup well, second in their group after two games.

"Our target, of course, is to qualify for the 2015 Asian Cup finals in Australia," said Kim, who led his side in practice yesterday in preparation for next week's friendly against the Philippines.

Also announced yesterday was the appointment of Szeto Man-chun as the Hong Kong team's administrative manager.