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Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA)

Hong Kong 0-1 Thailand: players urged to score more goals after opening defeat of Gary White era

New boss promises fans they will get to see goals from his unit

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 October, 2018, 11:08am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 October, 2018, 10:52pm

The first thing that came into new coach Gary White’s mind was “put it in the goal” after watching his first game in charge of Hong Kong end in defeat to a threadbare Thailand outfit.

Against the Thais, who are ranked 21 places ahead of their hosts in the latest Fifa rankings, Hong Kong, ranked 143, could not find the net despite 20 attempts on goal – 10 on target – as they lost 1-0 in the international friendly at Mong Kok Stadium on Thursday night.

Philip Roller took advantage of a lapse in concentration in the opening stages, as he charged down the right flank and, after a defensive blunder, bagged the decisive goal of the match against hapless Hong Kong goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai in just the second minute.

Despite strong support from most of the 4,740 fans at the stadium, Hong Kong failed to recover the early deficit. Festus Baise came closest to equalising in the first half when his header was denied by the woodwork before Alex Akande’s close range shot flew inches wide of target.

Second half substitute Giovane da Silva, making his international debut for Hong Kong after obtaining the required documentation just last month, also had a goal-mouth chance denied by the goalkeeper.

Some of the fans in the Boundary Street Stand booed the national anthem when it was conducted before the start of the match. But all present chanted White’s name at the end of the match as the fans showed they were giving their full support to the Englishman, who will have another chance to grab his first win as boss when Hong Kong meet Indonesia in Cikarang next week. Both friendlies are part of White’s preparation for the EAFF Championship qualifiers in Taiwan next month.

Later, the coach thanked the passionate supporters and hinted that he was not too concerned by the result.

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“I worried about if we didn’t create chances ... worried about if players were not fighting to the last second of the game ... worried about the players’ attitude,” said White at the post match media conference. “But none of those things happened tonight, none of those things have happened since I took over the team.

“The team has been fantastic. It’s just a matter of time before Giovane [da Silva] put in one or two or Paul Ngue or whoever gets in front of goal ... we are going to score goals. I am not worried about that – we just have to do better with the end product, to have better crossing and to have better finishing.”

But the coach felt sorry for the supporters who filled up more than two thirds of 6,200-seater venue.

“I wanted to give them a win, the players wanted to give them a win,” White said. “They deserved it. They were working hard too like the players, the staff and everybody else. I am really disappointed for them because they are not going to be with us in Indonesia to see when we do put those goals in. But I am sure there will be a chance for them to see those goals go in.”

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White said he would still keep youngster Dai Wai-tsun in his plans although he would not only focus on the English League One midfielder.

“He (Dai) is just one player and he’s got a lot of potential but our programme will never be dominated or dictated by one player,” White said. “We will continue to keep him on the radar as we will try to put the best players on the field for Hong Kong and people that want to fight. But if someone doesn’t want to come, they don’t want to come.”

Dai, 19, was called up for the Hong Kong senior team for the first time when he was named in the 33-member preliminary squad but was dropped from the final 23-member side due to an injury sustained last month.

It was reported early this week that Dai joined the China under-21 national team training camp in Amsterdam after his release by Hong Kong.