Interview

Fernando Pedreira: “Kitchee fans are amazing”

Fernando Pedreira has score some crucial goals in cup finals. Photo: Christopher KL Lau

Fernando Pedreira clearly loves football as he embodies a sheer passion for the game. Since his arrival on these shores from Brazil, he has made Hong Kong his home and has been a vital member of  the Kitchee team. He also scored some crucial goals which propelled his team to a period of consistent achievement and trophies. Recently, Fernando sat down with offside.hk to share his views on his time in the city, the upcoming AFC Cup games and Kitchee’s incredible fans.

Fernando was previously “Footballer of the Year” in Hong Kong and he reflected on what it meant for him.

“Being footballer of the year was a very special moment for me. It was a good year, as I won some individual prizes but last year was also a very good for me and this year the team is also becoming better again.”

Fernando then went onto discuss his many goals.

“I have scored some important goals, including in some finals like the Senior Shield this year and last year in the Sapling Cup, where I scored twice and this was great. I can’t think of a goal which is more important than another.”

Fernando has helped Kitchee to many trophies. Photo: Ken Wu

Kitchee have dominated Hong Kong football in recent seasons, though this season is emerging into a close battle which could go right down to the wire. Fernando said Kitchee were still competing for silverware. 

“We have a chance to win the league. This season is a little tough, as there are many good teams now and we have lost some games which has not happened in the last few years. Still, we have a chance and if some teams drop points, then we will beat them.”

Kitchee will play in the AFC Cup in the near future after a heart breaking penalty kick defeat to Perak in the Asian Champions League playoffs.

“I think we have a great team for the AFC Cup, but we need to do it step by step. We had to go to Malaysia for the ACL playoff and we played really well against Perak, but we lost one player at the start of the second half. It was very tough and we played extra time. We even scored another goal but the referee disallowed it.”

In terms of Hong Kong football fan culture, Kitchee fans have developed a loyal and passionate fan base and some are known to travel to all the overseas games to support the team. Fernando says that fans are vital to the the lifeblood of the team and tries to maintain contact with them when they approach him.

“The Kitchee fans are amazing and I am close to some of them, as the fans always talk to me. They message me on Facebook and Instagram and I try my best and reply to all of them. It is not too easy for them to go to Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and everywhere. They spend a lot of money and I appreciate their passion. I enjoy talking to them and even having dinner with them, as I think they are very important for Kitchee. The fans are amazing.”

Fernando is comfortable and happy in the city and remembers his journey from Brazil to Hong Kong and how he had never even heard of Hong Kong before his arrival. 

“I was both happy and surprised. First my close friend Stefan Pereira, who is now playing for Lee Man, recommended the place for me. At the time, I had the chance to go to Japan and he called me and said “Hey Fernando, we need a midfielder for the team, do you want to come to Hong Kong?”, and I said, “Sure!”. This was on a Saturday, and on Tuesday he called again and said that I needed to come immediately. I played eight to nine months at Citizen and then I went to Yokohama FC. Later I also brought my wife and finally I signed with Kitchee. I recently had a child and now I have a great family here. I love Hong Kong!”

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