The blueprint for transforming soccer in Hong Kong is weak, while those driving it lack technical competence, says a British coach who was identified by the Hong Kong Football Association as a candidate to become the next national coach. Darren Robinson, who was recently performance coach with Nottingham Forest, was flown here for a face-to-face interview with the HKFA board of directors. He was not offered the job, and left unimpressed not only with the people running the show but also the much-vaunted Project Phoenix, the government's comprehensive plan to revive the local game. Robinson labelled senior officials at the HKFA - barring Kitchee boss Ken Ng Kin - as lacking 'technical competence' and said the proposed solutions to the problems in the game, from grassroots to national level, constituted nothing more than a 'poorly written' tome. An HKFA official yesterday rejected Robinson's claims and said he was a sore loser, but Robinson insisted that wasn't the case. 'They [the HKFA] have a false view that it [Project Phoenix] will solve their problems. For me, it is weak and poorly written, but in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.' Project Phoenix is a multi-million-dollar government plan based on 33 recommendations put forward by consultants in a far-reaching study. It is aimed at rejuvenating the game at all levels, lifting the national team from its low of 156 on the Fifa world rankings and bringing the crowds back through the turnstiles. Robinson, a highly qualified coach, sports scientist and sports psychologist, was one of two people flown in for interview for the position of national coach, the other being England Under-20 coach Brian Eastwick. The latter was offered the position, but turned it down. Robinson believes his hard questioning and inquisitive nature turned the HKFA off. 'I had two [Skype] interviews and then a panel meeting [face-to-face with the board of directors]. I thought that each time they were sterile and lacked interaction. All my questions on the Skype interview were ignored, like 'what are your expectations?' and 'what does success look like to you?',' Robinson said. A former coach at Coventry, and also in rugby league, Robinson said he got the impression the new national coach would not be truly independent and would remain under the heel of the board, which would still want some input when it came to selection of the national team. 'I said the manager needs to lead and be accountable for all football matters. I said we had to identify roles and responsibilities and asked 'is it the manager's job to pick the team or will the team be picked by committee?' I got no answer,' Robinson said. 'In the panel meet, I felt they were like a boxer on the ropes. I kept hitting them with aspects that they had no clue about, things like performance analysis, coach mentorship and sports science provision. There was nobody on the panel with any technical competence. 'I felt I wasn't a cultural fit and when asked about my values, I said honesty and transparency, which clearly did not go down well.' Robinson believes Hong Kong's strategy should be four-pronged - creating a winning culture, player and coach development, identifying young talent and investing in sports science and medicine. 'I would appoint specialists in each of these four key areas to work with and educate the players and officials,' Robinson said. 'It is a long-term project, needing at least seven years or more. 'The standard of the coaching I witnessed at professional and age-group level is woeful and sadly the Hong Kong under-17s would struggle to beat most school teams in the UK. It is not their fault but the administration and coaching environment that they are surrounded by.' The government's consultancy study identified four major areas where the HKFA needed change - its constitution, organisational structure, technical expertise, and finance and marketing. And among the 33 recommendations made in the 128-page report is the creation of a new professional league in the 2012-13 season. Robinson - who arrived on October 19 and was left kicking his heels for three days before anyone from the HKFA board met him - was not at all impressed in terms of the professionalism of Hong Kong soccer. 'The feeling was perhaps mutual when I found out that I wouldn't be offered the job. I made it very clear it was a two-way process and I would be looking at them as much as they were looking at me. So how would you feel if you spent three days without any senior official available, had to pay for two nights' accommodation, and be forgotten about in my transport to take me back to the airport. Would you want to work for those people?' he asked. 'And let's not forget that two people fell asleep during my presentation to the board, while one director was rude by answering a telephone call.' An HKFA official who wished to remain anonymous said Robinson was a 'sore loser'. 'If the HKFA is looking for a 'yes man', the HKFA would certainly not have offered the job to Brian Eastwick in the first place. And yes, the eventual person selected for the job will provide the 'technical competence' that the HKFA is lacking,' said the official. 'The reasons why he [Robinson] was rejected were numerous; suffice to say that one of the reasons for rejecting him ... is probably reflected by the personality which finds it necessary to express in such a way the venom of his disappointment in being rejected.'