Brazilian Cristiano Cordeiro, possibly the best centre-half to have played in Hong Kong in the past decade, is back in town, this time work the sidelines.
The two-time former Footballer of the Year started his new role as an assistant coach at newly promoted Eastern Salon at their first pre-season session at Tsing Yi Northeast Park yesterday.
"I have been here for many years and everybody knows me well. I always say I owe Hong Kong soccer a lot," said the former South China and Sun Hei player. "Indeed, I missed Hong Kong from the first day I left and this will be a good opportunity for me to give something back to the sport. My experience, my knowledge of Hong Kong soccer will definitely help the team."
After steering Sun Hei to the Senior Shield in 2011, the Brazilian ended his playing career on a high before heading back to Brazil last July where he became a youth team coach.
"There is a big difference between coaching a youth team and a professional team," said the 39-year-old.
"But I am happy to take up the challenge as I'll have [head coach] Lee Kin-wo as my partner. We have worked together for over 10 years, from South China and then Sun Hei and share the same belief that only hard work brings success."
Cordeiro will help Lee manage Eastern's Brazilian legion as the club try to spring a surprise in their first season back in top flight with a budget of over HK$10 million. They boast six Brazilians including midfielder Manoel Santos (from South China), striker Giovane da Silva (from Rangers) and defender Afonso Clayton (from Tai Po).
Meanwhile, Eastern will not accept Shing Mun Valley Sports Ground in Tsuen Wan as their home ground for the new season.
"The arrangement by the Football Association is complete nonsense," said club executive director Peter Leung Shou-chi. "The venue is hardly accessible and the pitch conditions are terrible."