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Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA)

Hong Kong coach Gary White picks his final 23 but Dai Wai-tsun fails to make the cut

Englishman decides to pick Eastern fringe player Yue Tsz-nam for friendlies against Thailand and Indonesia as the Oxford United youngster is overlooked

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 October, 2018, 8:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 October, 2018, 2:51pm

New Hong Kong coach Gary White selected six players from overseas clubs for his first assignment but left out promising youngster Dai Wai-tsun of Oxford United.

In announcing his final 23-member squad for two upcoming international friendlies, White also included Eastern diminutive midfielder Yue Tsz-nam, who played only 45 minutes this season, as his surprise inclusion. Dai has just recovered from a knee injury while playing for Oxford United’s Under-23 and White said he would not be pushing it by including the 19-year-old on the side at this stage.

“Dai will not be joining us for these games [friendlies] but we will definitely be keeping a close tab on him in the coming months as we lead up to the East Asia Cup,” said White at Yuen Long Stadium on Sunday.

Another young player, Brain Fok, missed the cut because the defender could not be released by his Portuguese club but White said he would keep an eye on him in the coming months.

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The Englishman was impressed by Yue, who played in the second half of Eastern’s 4-0 victory over Dreams FC in the Premier League, and included him on the final 23 even though he was not on the original 33-member list.

“I really like the way he plays so I therefore included him at the last minute,” said White. “I like his attitude and love his passion. He’s everything that we should have in young players and hopefully it will give our younger players in Hong Kong some motivation as we don’t want to just look at the same old faces.”

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At 20, Yue played for the Hong Kong team at junior level but then decided to leave Hong Kong for England to continue his studies. He occasionally flew back to Hong Kong to play for Eastern but only became a full-time player this season.

White continued to rely on a naturalised strike force, including all five players, Jaimes McKee, Sandro, Giovane da Silva, Alex Akanda and Paul Nuge against Thailand at home on Thursday and against Indonesia away next Tuesday.

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White also recruited three naturalised players – Festus Baise of Guizhou Hangfeng of China Super League side, Andrew Russell of Lianing Whowin in China League One and Daniel Cancela of Kitchee.

Eastern dominated the squad by having seven players, while three came from champions Kitchee and three from R&F.