Antonic to lead HK

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 October, 2008, 12:00am

Former Kitchee coach Dejan Antonic has been appointed as one half of a two-man management team to coach the national side as Hong Kong prepare for the 2011 Asian Cup qualifiers, which kick off early next year.

At a board of directors' meeting yesterday, the Hong Kong Football Association also nominated under-23 coach Goran Paulic to share the workload with Antonic.

Antonic is youth development director with First Division side TSW Pegasus after leaving Kitchee last season, while Paulic is coach of the newly set up under-23 squad targeting next year's East Asian Games on home turf.

'They are both suitable candidates,' said HKFA chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak. 'Both have good track records and we hope their experience can help Hong Kong qualify for the finals.'

Twenty teams from the region are divided into five groups of four with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the 2011 Asian Cup finals.

Hong Kong are in group A, which also includes favourites Japan and two Middle East nations - Bahrain and Yemen. Their first match will be at home against Bahrain on January 14.

'We will also invite a visiting coach from Croatia in January before the qualifiers begin,' said Leung. 'A special budget of over HK$500,000 has been set aside for all coaching expenses.'