Raising funds for Operation Santa Claus with annual five-a-side soccer tournament
- Asia Pacific Soccer Schools and Hong Kong Football Club the big winners at Pok Fu Lam competition
Adults and children from 39 teams laced up their boots for charity at the annual Operation Santa Claus five-a-side soccer tournament.
The competition, held at Stanley Ho Sports Centre in Pok Fu Lam on November 25, raised funds for the annual charity campaign, jointly run by the South China Morning Post and public broadcaster RTHK. Takings included team entry fees and donations.
Participating teams, divided into three age groups, showed their grit and spirit at the event, which was co-organised by Hong Kong Football Club, registered charity Friends of Asia Hong Kong and Operation Santa Claus.
In the under-nine final, Asia Pacific Soccer Schools beat Arsenal Soccer School to take home the cup.
Eight-year-old Owen Chow, Arsenal’s goalkeeper, said he enjoyed the game.
“I want to play again,” he said.
The winner of the under-12 tournament was also a team from Asia Pacific Soccer Schools, who played against Kowloon Cricket Club’s junior football team in the final.
Players from the Integrated Brilliant Education Trust, an ethnic minority education support centre, made it to the division’s quarter-finals.
Manoj Dhar, co-founder of the trust, said the students had “played with great heart”.
“It was their humble gesture to give back to Operation Santa Claus,” he said, noting that the organisation was supported by the charity drive.
Nam Nguyen, who co-organised the tournament, said he was delighted that children from diverse backgrounds took part in the competition.
“All kinds of kids are there, and it’s fantastic to see that,” he said.
Seven teams entered the adult tournament.
Hong Kong Football Club and Savills played a hard-fought final, before HKFC prevailed on penalties.
Helen Chan Li, Friends of Asia Hong Kong’s chief executive, said the organisation would continue to support similar projects that could help children understand the importance of sports to health.
Paul Woodland, acting CEO of the Hong Kong Football Association, which supported the tournament, described it as a great event.
“It brings people together for fun,” he said.
Jim Gould of RTHK said the tournament was one of the main events on the Operation Santa Claus calendar, and that he looked forward to doing it every year.
How you can give:
- Donate online by credit card at osc.scmp.com/donate
- Donate at an ATM or at any HSBC branch (account no: 502-676299-001 for SCMP Charities Ltd Operation Santa Claus)
- Donate with a cheque payable to “SCMP Charities Ltd – Operation Santa Claus” and mail it to: Operation Santa Claus, South China Morning Post, 19/F, Tower One, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay
- Donations of HK$100 or more are tax-deductible. If you would like a tax receipt, please send the completed donation form and original bank receipt, with your name, address and phone number, to the above address. Please call +852 2680 8159 or email [email protected] with any inquiries, or visit us online