Surprise as Kitchee star beats prolific teammate to Hong Kong Footballer of the Year award

Kitchee’s Brazilian midfielder Fernando Pedreira beats clubmate Sandro to the major prize after recognition of his selfless graft

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 May, 2017, 10:16pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 May, 2017, 11:17pm

Fernando Pedreira has often been the unsung hero for Kitchee this season, but he was rewarded for his selfless graft after being voted Hong Kong Footballer of the Year, beating prolific clubmate Sandro to the major prize on Wednesday night.

In a star-studded prize presentation in Kowloon Bay, the 30-year-old Brazilian, who joined the Premier League champions in 2015, scored only three goals in the Premier League to Sandro’s 21 goals this season, but Pedreira received the final nod to the surprise of some observers.

However, Pedreira was recognised for his massive contribution to Kitchee, who this season won the treble – the FA Cup, Senior Shield and league – and his numerous unselfish runs down the left flank through the season.

He created many scoring opportunities for his teammates, including setting up two of three goals for Sandro during their 4-1 victory against Eastern for the league title.

Pedreira, who received the award from local snooker star, Marco Fu Ka-chun, also won the Players’ Player of the Year award and the Most Favourite Player award by fans. He received a cash award of HK$30,000 for clinching the top honour.

“This is an amazing day for me,” said Pedreira, who now looks forward to playing for Kitchee in the 2018 AFC Champions League. “I have never expected to win such an honour when I first came to Hong Kong four years ago. I must thank my teammates as they believe in me and trusted me.

“Kitchee played the best football this season, winning three major trophies but the challenge will not end as we have to play in the AFC Champions League next year when all the best teams from the region play together.”

Of the “best 11” positions, champions Kitchee and arch-rivals Eastern dominated the honours with five winners each.

Eastern goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai said his performance was not worthy of winning the title as “there were many other goalkeepers who did a better job”. Defenders Roberto Affonso Jnr and Wong Tsz-ho, both of Eastern, Helio Concalves and Kim Bongjin, both of Kitchee, midfielders Diego Moreira of Eastern, Pedreira and his teammate Huang Yang, Manoel Santos of Wofoo Tai Po and strikers Sandro of Kitchee and Manuel Bleda of Eastern were all honoured. Each player received a cash award of HK$10,000.

They were voted by fans, the sports media and an expert group.

The two best young players were midfielder Tan Chun-lok of Wofoo Tai Po, who won the title for the second time in a row and defender Wong Tsz-ho of Eastern, while Chu Chi-kwong of Kitchee won the best coach award.