New ball game for Fung despite 'save face' move

DISILLUSIONED basketball manager Fung Shiu-wai will turn his attention to soccer, despite winning an appeal and having a three-year basketball ban reduced to six months.

The Hongkong Basketball Association's disciplinary committee slapped the ban on the Frankwell manager for pulling out his team midway through a Senior Shield match against Regal on May 30 following a refereeing dispute. They also handed the club a two-year suspended sentence.

Frankwell chairman Wilson Lai Chan-kau, however, appealed on Fung's behalf and threatened to pull out of Hongkong basketball, saying that the club and its manager were ''inseparable''.

An appeal board, headed by HKBA president Cham Siu-lam, met on Saturday and reduced the sentence to six months which effectively is no penalty as all major professional competitions for 1993 have finished.

But the outspoken Fung said: ''I knew the result even before the meeting and it was aimed at saving face for the disciplinary committee.

''I still feel that the only fair decision would be to issue me with a stern warning. As an act of protest I have withdrawn my club Southerland from Division II.'' Fung has not decided whether he will remain as Frankwell's basketball manager next year.

The Division AI season starts in April and clubs usually make plans for their team after the New Year.

But Fung does know he will spend more time on the Frankwell football team who are in the Second Division.

''I've spoken to the boss and he is interested in bringing Frankwell up to the First Division next year,'' said Fung.

''We don't need a lot of money to run a Second Division side but I may bring in a couple of young Russian players for the promotion bid.'' Fung has vast experience in soccer management, having been a founder of the Double Flower club in the late 70s, overseeing their rise from the district league to the Second Division.

He also led prominent junior side Kwong Wah for several years. His last soccer post was in the 1984-85 season as manager of Rangers.