SOUTH China's top officials are split over whether to try to sign their former striker, Dale Tempest, for next season. After their 2-0 defeat in the second leg of the Asian Cup Winners' Cup final against Al-Qadisiyah in Saudi Arabia on Monday, South China are starting to make plans for an assault on the league championship, which has just been won by Eastern for the second time in two seasons. A key member of Eastern's team for the past three seasons has been 30-year-old striker Tempest, whose appearance as a guest player for South China against Sao Paulo in an exhibition match last week sparked rumours that he may be returning to Caroline Hill Road in the summer. South China's coach, Raymond Ng Wai-man, feels Tempest would be the ideal man to lead the front line - and bring the best out of striker Anto Grabo. ''We need a good striker for next season, someone who can play as the centre forward,'' said Ng. ''This would let Anto play behind the first striker, where he would be much more comfortable running at people and passing rather than receiving the ball with his back to goal.'' Although South China's assistant manager, Bruce Mok, also rates Tempest highly, he feels the high salary Tempest would command could cause unrest in the Caroliners' camp. ''I think his salary is very high and it may be a little difficult for us to sign him,'' said Mok. ''If you compared his salary with the other overseas players, some of them would be jealous and this is not good for team spirit.'' Tempest has said Eastern must have the first chance to sign him again for next season but knows that South China are waiting in the wings. Tempest played for South China for two seasons but was allowed to leave after Hung resigned from the post in 1991. Tempest joined Eastern and has played for them for the past three seasons, apart from a brief spell with Kitchee at the start of this season after failing to agree terms with Eastern last summer. Eastern took him back in October. If South China fail to secure Tempest, they may sign experienced Dutch striker Pieter Keur, who plays for Dutch First Division club Heerenveen. South China are negotiating with 33-year-old Keur and a summer move to Caroline Hill Road is possible. Keur has scored 146 goals in 340 league games. His previous clubs include Feyenoord, Haarlem, Telstar and Twente Enschede.