HONG KONG'S soccer star never shone brighter than on May 19, 1985. On that day, the territory scored a famous victory over China, but what should have been a beginning has become a zenith from which to track the decline of local football, and the disappointment of promise unfulfilled runs deep. Nowhere is that disappointment felt more poignantly than by two of the territory's heroes in that momentous game when the mainland's 1986 World Cup aspirations were kicked from under them. The duo - Cheung Chi-tak and Ku Kam-fai - are still running and chasing in the local First Division a decade after scoring the goals that gave Hong Kong that unforgettable 2-1 victory. But time and subsequent disappointment has done much to dull the warm glow of that distant achievement. 'Frankly I'm not impressed by the situation [in Hong Kong soccer],' lamented South China stopper Ku. 'I think one of the reasons is we're lacking good and tall centre forwards. 'In our day, we had Wan Chi-keung who was really fast and had the ability to score goals. But now none of the Chinese players can compare with him.' Both Ku and Cheung point to a domination of foreign strikers in the local game. 'Even using foreign players, the national team could not beat the Chinese provincial teams in this year's two interport cups,' said Cheung, the right-back for Instant-Dict. 'Besides, when it comes to international tournaments in which foreign players are not allowed, for example the World Cup or the Asian Cup, our Chinese players have difficulties because they are so used to the gweilos' style.' Cheung said the national team lacked superstars to guide the younger players. 'Superstars like Wan Chi-keung, Wu Kwok-hung, Lau Wing-yip were in the national squad 10 years ago. The younger players like Ku and I could play better under their guidance and eventually we won the May 19 match,' he explained. Ku said the present soccer players were 'all-rounders' which was not good for them. 'They play for too many positions and can't specialise in their best one. 'For example the national defender Yau Kin-wai [also from the Caroliners], sometimes he has to play as a sweeper and sometimes the right-back. Lo Kai-wah [of Eastern] plays from right-back to right-wing and even the midfield. How can they play well if they have to play so many positions?' Both players agree that the onus on rebuilding Hong Kong soccer lies squarely with the Hong Kong Football Association and the senior clubs. 'Besides long-term planning and money, I think the national side should train two or three times a month and the clubs should let their players go to play for the territory,' said Ku. 'And the players must attend every training. 'It's like a cycle, if the players play harder, the HKFA offer them better [incentives], then the players have a sense of belonging and play harder.'