Winger Lee Kin-wo has played in so many Guangdong-Hong Kong Cups he cannot even remember his debut year. 'With our annual matches against Shanghai and Macau we had three Interport competitions every year, so it would be hard for an old guy like me to remember all the specific details,' jokes the 35-year-old South China star. This year's Guangdong-Hong Kong Cup will mark Lee's 11th appearance in the competition, equalling the record set by former Hong Kong and Happy Valley captain Leung Sui-wing. 'For me, personally, 1992-93 was the most memorable as it was the first and only time I was able to lift the cup as team captain,' says Lee, adding: 'But, of course, it has always been an honour for me to be selected to play for Hong Kong. 'This year I think we stand a very good chance of winning again since our spirits are exceptionally high after the good performances by South China and Happy Valley in the ATV Cup [when they beat Chinese side Dalian and South Korean team Anyang LG Cheetahs respectively]. 'The ATV Cup proved it would be beneficial for our young players and Hong Kong football as a whole if we could have more chances in competitions of a higher level. If you look at the progress [Hong Kong international] Ng Wai-chiu has made since he began playing for Guangzhou in the Chinese B-League you would know what I'm talking about. 'The Guangdong-Hong Kong Cup could serve exactly the same purpose as players in the mainland generally have much stronger physique and stamina than we do. We need these kinds of matches to improve ourselves.' Lee is looking forward to tonight's first leg. 'The excitement about this year being the cup's 25th anniversary hasn't quite reached us here yet, but I'm sure the atmosphere will be much more intense once we get to Guangzhou,' he says. The former Hong Kong Footballer of the Year is also pleased with the inclusion of expatriate players, such as South China teammates Cristiano Cordeiro and Rochi Putiray. 'A lot of people were saying we should include only local players, but the fact is we must have foreign players of their qualities if we are to stand a realistic chance of beating Guangdong,' he insists. 'The standard of our local players is just too far below those from the mainland. I can't see the point of sending out a team that has no chance of winning.' This year marks Lee's return to the national squad after nearly three years in the wilderness following an infamous incident at a Hong Kong-Macau Interport match in 2000 when he was banned for a year after coming to blows with Macau referee Choi Kuok-kun. A frustrated Lee had kicked the ball at the referee, who responded by throwing punches. Choi later received a life ban. Lee has since changed his attitude towards playing for the SAR and hopes to carry on for a while year. 'Even before what happened in Macau I had already announced my retirement as I wanted to give the young players more chances. My mindset is different now - I want to help by playing alongside them and giving them the benefit of my experience. But, most important of all, I am enjoying football as much as I ever have and this is the main reason I am able to keep going.'