League

Tai Po “hungry for more” as squad for next season is finalized

Photo: HKFA.com

Tai Po hosted their first press conference this year to address their plans for the next season. Having narrowly lost a place in the AFC playoffs, the club targets more success on the pitch after winning the Sapling Cup last season. 

Before revealing any news, chairman Choi Sheung-ki, manager Chan Pui-shan, and head coach Lee Chi-kin congratulated the team on the successes of last season. The club believes that the overall development, especially with the appointments made last year that culminated in a cup win, was a step in the right direction. For the upcoming campaign they will set their sights on cup silverware as well as a place in the top three of the Hong Kong Premier League.

Lee Chi Kin stated that he is very happy and honored to remain head coach of Tai Po. When asked to respond to statements made by other clubs, that they intend to sweep again all the trophies due to lack of competition, he simply replied that Tai Po will continue to focus on their own objectives, while hopefully winning some silverware on the way. What others say should be of little importance.

Despite seeming relatively quiet during the off-season, Tai Po have strengthened all over the park. Arguably the standout signing revealed today was Andy Russell, who returned to Hong Kong from a short spell with Penang in the Malaysia Super League. Russell represents Hong Kong internationally, which means that he will count as domestic player. Tsang Man-fai, Leung Kwun-chung and Chak Ting-fung join the team from self-relegated South China, with Brazilian pair Eduardo Praes and Dhiego Martins following suit from Pegasus. Local player Ryan Ambrad Cuenca, who was previously with Double Flower, also linked up officially with Tai Po after already training with the team last season. Another promising signing is 24-year-old Yuen Chun-sing, who was last year’s top striker in the 1st Division, where he scored a whopping 41 goals for Sun Hei.

Yuen is also a member of the legendary “Kin Army”, a group of young players that have been groomed by coach Lee Chi-kin over the years, and most of them he managed to sign for Tai Po, including talents such as Tan Chun-lok, Wong Wai, and Lee Ka-yiu.

The final addition this summer is youngster Wong Cho-sum who joins from 3rd Division side St. Joseph.

Wong Wai was officially given the captaincy, although he will share it with Li Hon-ho throughout the season.

Last season’s Brazilian teammates Paulo Cesar, Lima and Lucas Silva have left the club, while Leung Sing-yiu and Tan Chun-lok are currently away with the U22 team in North Korea. Some long-term Tai Po fans might also wonder about Chan Yuk-chi. Nicknamed “Tai Po Totti” by the Hong Kong Football Podcast, Chan follows his Italian equivalent into retirement, but he will take up a coaching position within the club, which he has served for nearly 15 years.

Tai Po will hold their first training session on July 17th, 11 am, at Kwong Fuk Football Ground. Fans are encouraged to come and encourage the team for the new season.

 

Full Squad:

1 – Tsang Man-fai
2 – Lew Wai-yip
3 – Eduardo Praes
4 – Leung Kwun-chung
5 – Dudu
6 – Chak Ting-fung
7 – Wong Wai (C)
8 – Lee Ka-yiu
9 – Yuen Chun-sing
10 – Lui Chi-hing
11 – Dhiego Martins
15 – Fung Hing-wa
16 – Tan Chun-lok
17 – Chan Hiu-fung
19 – David Lazari
23 – Andy Russell
29 – Ryan Ambrad Cuenca
44 – Yuto Nakamura
63 – Li Hon-ho
77 – Leung Sing-yiu
88 – Wong Cho-sum
90 – Chiu SiuWai

 

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