“HK U23” Kicks Off
In an extraordinary board meeting last week, the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) officially approved the establishment of the “HK U23” team. A kick-off ceremony was held today as the team prepare to participate in the upcoming Sapling Cup followed by the new season’s BOC Life Hong Kong Premier League.
The establishment of “HK U23” aims to promote the development of local football. By focusing efforts on training young players and raising their skills in line with international standards, it is hoped that the new “HK U23” team will one day represent Hong Kong in international competitions, bringing sporting cachet to the city.
Youth players form the backbone of the team, with more than ten players aged 23 or below and a maximum of five aged over 23 (only up to three of these senior players can play in any given match). Some of the players are borrowed from other Premier League clubs, while the five veterans will be recruited by HKFA. Mr. Cheung Kin Fung, current coach of the “Hong Kong Representative Team”, will take charge of the new team as the Head Coach.
Mr. Joaquin Tam, Chief Executive Office of HKFA, said, “We are counting on the senior players to pass on their hard-earned skills, strategies and experience, helping our young players to progress quickly. Cheung Kin Fung’s rich coaching experience and a deep understanding of the U23 players will also be instrumental in the rapid development and growth of this team.”
“HK U23” is managed and operated by HKFA. Vice Chairman Mr. Eric Fok expressed his strong support for the initiative. “I’m delighted with the move to set up “HK U23” and further commit to the development of local football. These young players are the future of the game and the new team will bolster youth training and attract more young talent to the sport.” He added, “With the opportunity to take their skills to the highest level and compete in international events, we hope to fuel the football craze and encourage young people to pursue their dreams, turning their love of the game into a career.”