South China snap up former A-League star Daniel McBreen
South China sounded a warning to their domestic and regional rivals after completing a remarkable seven-player transfer swoop on Wednesday, including 2013 A-League golden boot winner Daniel McBreen.
The Australian striker started his first practice session with his new club at King's Park, along with plenty of other new faces: Hong Kong internationals Lam Hok-hei and Leung Hing-kit, (both from BC Rangers), Li Ngai-hoi (Kitchee), Michael Campion (Sun Pegasus), Law Chun-pong (free) and Lau Cheuk-hin (Yokohama).
McBreen's arrival should give coach Mario Gomez more firepower for the AFC Cup that kicks off in a month's time.
Gomez said he would announce his quota of four foreigners for the tournament on Friday.
"We want to show our rivals we are determined to get good results with so many new players at this new stage," said club convenor Wallace Cheung Kwong-yung, who has reached into his own pocket to splash HK$3 million on the new signings.
"We did not do very well in the first half of the season, but with the arrival of these players, we are confident of an improved performance, with the championship and the AFC Cup our top targets."
A traditional powerhouse, the Caroliners are third in the standings and have an important game against fellow title-chasers Sun Pegasus on Sunday. One trophy has already gone by the wayside after eventual winners Eastern knocked them out of the Senior Shield.
McBreen, who has vast exposure in European and Asian soccer, could be a key player despite getting on in years at 37.
"I don't think there is any problem with my physical condition as I won the top scorer award in Australia two years ago," said McBreen, who was with China Super League side Shanghai East Asia last season when they finished fifth.
"It will be a new challenge playing in Hong Kong and I hope my experience in the Asian Champions League can also help."
McBreen played two seasons in that tournament with A-League side Central Coast Mariners.
South China captain Chan Wai-ho said it was time for the players to raise their game.
"The club has done their part by adding many new quality players and it's time for us to prove ourselves," said Chan. "I am sure there will be a big comeback by us in the second half of the season."