The state of basketball in Hong Kong - and its future - is starkly illustrated by the national team's prospects at the Asian Games. They face likely elimination before the event officially begins and will probably be quickly forgotten. Great expectations do not extend to this sport - one of 31 in the record Hong Kong contingent at the Games - and the local league is to blame, says towering forward Fong Shing-yee. The team have only gathered since August, with two training sessions a week. It would be a big achievement if we could get past the qualifying round this time Fong Shing-yee Fong, 30, will be taking part in his third Asiad and says the result is likely to be the same - elimination in the qualifiers, which are to tip off on September 20. "The team have only gathered since August, with two training sessions a week. It would be a big achievement if we could get past the qualifying round this time. "But even if we reached the main draw, I don't think too many people would care. Like many other previous major Games, we just go there, do a job and return home without making any big noise," said Fong, who plays for champions Winling. "This will be my third Games, but to be honest, I don't have any great expectations," said Fong, who has spent 10 years in the A1 Division, the top tier in Hong Kong. Hong Kong have been drawn against Mongolia, Kuwait and Maldives in the qualifying round in Incheon where the top two teams go through to the main draw. Mongolia are one of the fast-growing teams in the region while Kuwait, like many other teams from the Middle East, are always tough opponents. At 1.91 metres, Fong is one of the few home-grown players equipped with the power for rebounding and also has a good record of field goals. He joined Winling in 2006 and has helped his club clinch six A1 Division championship titles, along with the Senior Shield in 2011 and 2014. "Winling are a strong team with the power to challenge for titles season after season," said Fong. "But I feel really sad as the game is still dominated by very few clubs. "It's always Winling or South China in the final. Sometimes, maybe Fukien or the Eagles are able to mount some threat, but normally it's always the two leading clubs competing against each other for the silverware. "That's why we can't build the Hong Kong team to become a force to be reckoned with in the region. The national team cannot make big progress without a strong and competitive domestic league. We have been making progress, but the progress is too small compared with our Asian counterparts like Japan and Taiwan, and, needless to say, the top Asian teams such as China and South Korea. There are many basketball fans in Hong Kong. Whenever we play in the league championships play-off series or the cup final, the stadium is always packed Fong Shing-yee "There are many basketball fans in Hong Kong. Whenever we play in the league championships play-off series or the cup final, the stadium is always packed. Basketball has become a professional sport in many countries with a big following but, unfortunately, the game in Hong Kong is still pretty much amateur." There are two major competitions for the eight teams in the A1 Division. The season lasts several months, starting from March when the Senior Shield begins and finishing in early July after the championship play-off series. "The season is very short because there are only a few teams," said Fong. "The short season also makes it difficult to earn a living by simply playing basketball and that's why the majority of players are students or those who have full-time jobs and only train and play in the evening. Some players like me don't have a full-time job and are working as coaches in schools or community clubs. "But if there was a professional league, or even a semi-professional one like in Taiwan, I am sure many players would be willing to commit fully to the sport and aspire to a higher level. It is always a dream for any player to play in a professional league where you can receive more regular training, play in front of a big crowd, earn a good salary, represent your nation in major Games. "But for many Hong Kong players, it will probably remain a dream for a long and indefinite period," said Fong, who also represented Hong Kong at the Red Bull King of the Rock one-on-one tournament on Alcatraz in San Francisco in 2012. Sam Ho Wai-hing, who retired from the Hong Kong Basketball Association in July after working as the senior sports executive for two decades, said it would not be easy to start professional basketball as it required a strong feeder system to produce players, the support of policy from relevant authorities, facilities provision, and financial resources from the public and commercial sectors. "The association lacks the vision and mission to do all this and it has never thought of developing the sport on a real professional scale," said Ho.