Neymar Jnr fever as Team Hong Kong return from superstar’s five-a-side tournament in Brazil
Hong Kong’s Tiger United Football Club touched down safely after a 30-plus hour journey from Praia Grande, Brazil
Neymar Jnr said post-Russia World Cup that he did not want to see a ball – let alone any football being played – but the Brazilian superstar still managed to squeeze in a kickabout and a few selfies at his own Red Bull Neymar Jnr Fives last week.
“Watching him play from the other side of the world is already great, but to see him play five-a-side just five to 10 metres away from you was a delight,” said Hong Kong representative team captain Alvin Chan Hoi-cheung, a former professional for Hong Kong First Division outfit Double Flower and a Kitchee development coach.
Tiger United Football Club, composed of Chan, Wong Him-chun, Eric Wong Tsz-chun, Chan Ho-chun, So Chun-yin and Yung Yat-long, touched down safely after a 30-plus hour journey from Praia Grande, Brazil.
The members are all alumni of Tung Chi Ying Memorial Secondary School and earned qualification at the Beach 5s in Repulse Bay earlier in the year. The team previously described it as “a story to tell the kids”.
Unfortunately, the sextet were unable to match Germany, Hungary, Egypt and Jordan in the group stages but returned from Instituto Projecto Neymar Jnr with football experience and wisdom.
“It’s a very strong feeling to see football having such a big platform over there,” said Chan. “We may never get the opportunity to play internationally in the Mecca of football again so we are very happy with the experience.
“Every team in Brazil played with intensity and our team’s performance can be considered okay. There was not a big gap in our technique or size, but we were a bit nervous and played unsteadily against our opponents,” he added.
“This was the first time we faced opponents such as Hungary and Egypt and everybody knows Germany is a very good football nation ... we played excitedly and soaked in the experience,” Chan said.
A narrow 2-1 loss to Egypt was the closest Hong Kong came to victory and it seems the boys are still dwelling over the “what ifs” to this day.
“We conceded one really heart-breaking goal against Egypt after we had equalised,” Chan recalled. “We really thought we had a chance to beat them. When we went for a meal or walk in the evening, our team kept talking about our performances.”
And while the team return to the city without any silverware, Chan and Co. will have memories of the world’s most expensive footballer etched in their minds.
“A couple of teammates interacted with him and were so excited ... we even saw his best friend Dani Alves” Chan said.
The 2018 Neymar Jnr Fives men’s and women’s winners were Mexico’s Deportivo Mago and Brazil’s Resenha 013, respectively.
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