Hong Kong striker Chan Siu-ki denies ‘discrimination’ against foreign-born teammates
South China striker made controversial Facebook post appearing to criticise decision to call up four more naturalised players
Hong Kong international Chan Siu-ki denied criticising his foreign-born teammates on social media ahead of two vital World Cup qualifying matches against Maldives and China later this month.
On Monday, four Kitchee players who have obtained Hong Kong passports over the last two weeks, were drafted by HK coach Kim Pan-gon into his preliminary squad for a friendly against Myanmar on Saturday.
Chan - who plays for Kitchee's bitter rivals South China - appeared to hit out on Facebook, posting: “Why do local young boys have to train so hard [to try to make the team] and for what?”
READ MORE: Calling for back-up: Hong Kong draft four more naturalised players for showdown against China
Of the four newly included players, central defender Helio Goncalves has not played for a month due to injury.
Chan’s quote immediately attracted a large number of comments from fans, some for Chan and some against him, who scored the only goal against Bhutan in their last qualifying match.
One said it’s time for unity before the two crunch matches, while another said “There is no future for Hong Kong soccer if we keep using naturalised players”.
Chan later edited his post "because of too many experts", and then posted again, saying he had “nothing but respect” for naturalised players and did not discriminate.
Of the 33-member preliminary squad, 11 are naturalised players while five are former mainlanders from China who have fulfilled the two-year residency rule to represent Hong Kong.
Earlier this year, China caused a storm with a clumsily worded poster talking about Hong Kong’s ‘white skin, brown skin, yellow skin’ team.