Last Sunday, a 3-1 win for one of this season’s most fancied soccer teams put them top of the league in the early stages of the new campaign, equal on points with other sides that have come flying out the blocks.
You probably didn’t see the match, even if you do follow soccer and have Now TV. You probably haven’t read about it, either. Because I’m not talking about Manchester City’s win over West Ham. Last weekend, Kitchee, a team formed in 1931 and one of the strongest in the Hong Kong Premier League, swept aside Kwoon Chung Southern at Mong Kok Stadium, to join KMB Yuen Long, Eastern Long Lions and South China at the top of the table.
It’s a sad truth, but in “soccer-mad” Hong Kong, few people – especially among non-Chinese speakers – venture out to see the real thing, preferring instead to watch (admittedly well-marketed) imported games on the box.
Ah, you might say, but the quality of the soccer in the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga is so much higher than that in Hong Kong.
That is, of course, true, but there is nothing quite like the atmosphere of a live game – and believe it or not, you do get that at Hong Kong matches. Sure, you might need to go to a few games to get to know the players before becoming completely enveloped in the drama, but you may be surprised at how rewarding the shared experience can be.
The exhibition matches Hong Kong often sees in the summer featuring big clubs are no substitute, either. Passion is the key, even if you support a team such as King Mountain, who finished 14th in Hong Kong’s fourth tier last season, and it’s rarely rewarded.
As British comedian – and committed West Ham fan – Russell Brand points out, where else, other than in a church, mosque, synagogue or temple, can people “sing together, pray together, cry together”?
Come on Tai Po!