Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA)

The mystery of Tsun Dai: Dropped by Hong Kong but training with China Under-21s?

Youngster fails to make the cut in Gary White’s team but goes to train with China squad as Hong Kong coach says he only cares about players who are here

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2018, 11:47am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2018, 11:26pm

The future of teenage star Dai Wai-tsun remains a mystery after the Oxford United player missed his first call-up for Hong Kong but attended a training camp for the China Under-21 squad under Guus Hiddink in Europe.

According to the English League One club, the Hong Kong player would not feature in their Checkatrade Trophy tie against Northampton Town as Dai (commonly known as Tsun Dai) was away on international duty for “China”.

The club’s game preview said “Shandon Baptiste returns after suspension but Gavin Whyte is away with Northern Ireland, while young midfielder Tsun Dai is also away on international duty, flying out today to join the China U21 squad for a training camp in Amsterdam”.

Dai also showed his air ticket from London to Amsterdam on social media.

The 19-year-old was in new coach Gary White’s 33-member preliminary line-up for the two forthcoming internationals against Thailand and Indonesia, which forms part of White’s build-up for next month’s East Asian Football Championship Cup in Taiwan.

White on Thursday refused to be drawn into the controversy, saying his focus was on the team and nothing else.

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“I am only interested in the 23 players that are here and I have no interest in anything of any player that’s not here. My complete focus is on the team and players that are here to fight for this team.”

White said he did not even talk about the player with the team as “there is no discussion of a player that’s not here”.

Dai was dropped from the final 23-member squad revealed over the weekend as he had just recovered from a knee injury. A close eye would be kept on the player in the coming months, according to White.

Hong Kong youngster Dai Wai-tsun not included in Gary White’s 23-member squad

The China Under-21 squad are in a training camp in Amsterdam under new coach Gus Hiddink, but Dai’s name was not seen on the squad list which included several Chinese overseas exiles such as Zhang Yuning and Lin Liangming.

Some netizens accused Dai of “betraying the Hong Kong people”, saying “Go back to China and not Hong Kong”.

Others said Dai might just be seeking some top-quality coaching and his involvement with the China team would not affect his future in Hong Kong.