Guangzhou young guns set for debut

Evergrande will field a team for the first time in the annual tournament against English Premier League sides

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 March, 2014, 10:38pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 March, 2014, 10:38pm

Asian champions Guangzhou Evergrande will make their debut at this year's HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens.

Winners of the Chinese Super League for the past three years, Guangzhou Evergrande will feature among the top eight seeds with English Premier League clubs Chelsea, Manchester City, Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Sunderland, holders Leicester City and Scottish giants Rangers, who will all field youth and academy sides.

Guangzhou Evergrande are proud to be making our tournament debut at the Soccer Sevens
Zhou Suian

Experienced coach Zhou Suian will manage the young Guangzhou Evergrande side, as the club make their tournament debut just months after winning the AFC Champions League for the first time and finishing fourth in the Fifa Club World Cup.

"As the reigning Asian champions, Guangzhou Evergrande are proud to be making our tournament debut at the Soccer Sevens," Zhou, 53, said.

"Our senior team have won the Chinese Super League for three years and made China proud with our AFC Champions League victory, so we're very excited to compete in Hong Kong, although we also feel a responsibility to perform well.

"We'll have a very young side and it will be our first time, so it will be difficult against so many famous clubs, but we'll do our best."

Tony Bratsanos, chairman of the organising committee, said: "Chelsea are currently leading the Premier League, so our 16-team main competition features the best of England, the best of Asia, the best of China and the best of Hong Kong, which is a real coup."

Chelsea last played two years ago, while the six other British clubs competed last May, when Leicester beat 2012 champions Newcastle 2-0 in the Cup final.