Tough schedule may frustrate Kitchee's quest for AFC Cup glory
Five players face gruelling timetable having to play four matches in four countries in 10 days
Kitchee's attempt to become the first team from Hong Kong to reach the AFC Cup final is under serious threat as key players face a demanding schedule due to club and country commitments.
Five players - captain Lo Kwan-yee, midfielders Lam Ka-wai and Huang Yang, defender Cheung Kin-fung and goalkeeper Wang Zhenpeng - will have to play four matches in four countries in 10 days, beginning with the international friendly in Vietnam on Saturday.
"There would have been six but defender Tsang Chi-hau can't make the trip with the Hong Kong team due to a knee injury," said club director of football Chu Chi-kwong. " But still, it's a heavy burden for our key players."
Seven Kitchee players, including Christian Annan, who is not eligible yet as a local player for the AFC Cup, have been selected for the Hong Kong team which, after the Vietnam match, will head for Singapore on Sunday to play their second overseas friendly match in four days.
Kitchee then have their inaugural Hong Kong Premier League opening match against Wofoo Tai Po on Friday of next week, then travel to Amman, Jordan, for the crucial AFC Cup semi-final opening leg against Arbil of Iraq four days later.
The match was scheduled to take place in Lebanon, but was moved for safety reasons.
"It will be difficult for the boys to overcome such a tough schedule and we hope it will not affect our team performance in both the domestic competition and the AFC Cup," said Chu.