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Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA)

England exile Tsun Dai earns first call-up to the Hong Kong squad

The exciting 19-year-old midfielder, who has been playing in League One for the past two seasons, has been included in Gary White’s preliminary squad for a series of friendlies

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2018, 8:46pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 September, 2018, 8:56am

Teenage midfielder Dai Wai-tsun, who made the decision to ply his trade in England, where he now plays for Oxford United, has been included in the Hong Kong senior squad for the first time under new coach Gary White.

Tsun Dai, as he is known in England, is trying to carve out a professional career in English football and has been playing in English soccer’s third-tier for the past two seasons. The 19-year-old midfielder was named in a 33-strong preliminary Hong Kong squad in preparation for two international friendlies next month.

Considered one of the most exciting young local prospects, the teenager joined English League One side Oxford United this summer after spending two seasons with Bury and his call up represents a step up for the talented youngster who has represented Hong Kong only at junior level.

His father, Daiman Dai Man-hong is keeping his fingers crossed his son will finally don the Hong Kong jersey, although he stressed Oxford United would have to agree to release him for the friendlies against Thailand and Indonesia on October 11 and 16.

Those matches form part of White’s build up towards the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) Championship second-round matches in Taipei, where Hong Kong take on North Korea, Mongolia and the hosts in November.

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“Oxford United will decide on whether they can release him [for the friendlies] or not since there are no Fifa [international] days in League One,” said Daiman.

“Dai also injured his knee during a match last week and is currently undergoing therapy. His form is apparently not the best.”

Tsun Dai has been holding down a regular spot at Oxford United – but with their Under-23 side.

According to his father, the teenager would have to adjust to a new environment before he has a chance of playing for Oxford’s first team.

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“He would have been doing well these days had it not been for the injury,” said his father. “It always takes time for a new player, especially a youngster, to come up and play at a certain level when they join a new team.”

The father also said the club might consider releasing Dai if he makes the final Hong Kong squad.

Meanwhile, former Footballer of the Year Giovane da Silva, who obtained his Hong Kong permanent residency last week, was drafted into the squad that boasts a full line-up of naturalised players up front. The other forwards named are Jaimes McKee, Jorge Tarres, Sandro who plays for PSM Makassar of Indonesia and two China League One players, Paul Nuge of Xinjian Tianshan Leopard and Alexander Akande, now with Yanbian Funde.

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Hong Kong coach White emphasised on his arrival earlier this month that achieving results would be top of his priorities.

Brain Fok, who plays for second tier Portuguese club Académico de Viseu Futebol Clube, also made the preliminary squad, along with other exiles in the Chinese Leagues that includes Festus Baise (Guizhou Hengfeng), Andy Russell (Liaoning Whowin) and Tsui Wan-kit (Meizhou Hakka).