The Hong Kong Football Association announced that Gary White has been confirmed as new head coach of both the men’s senior and U23 national teams. White’s appointment starts on September 10th and his first fixture will be an international friendly on October 11th against Thailand.
Gary White was born in England and had a short stint as a player in Australia before starting his coaching career as the head coach for British Virgin Island. Later he took on manager positions at the Bahamas (1999-2008) and Guam (2012-2016). In September 2017 he was eventually hired by the Chinese Taipei Football Association. During his reign in Taiwan, he guided Chinese Taipei to their historically best FIFA ranking (121st) and an astonishing streak of seven wins out of nine games at home, including victories against Bahrain and Malaysia.
According to the HKFA, Gary White was excited about the appointment: “It is an honour to lead the Hong Kong team and I am very motivated to improve, progress and develop the team. I have been in the opposite dug out a few times and I can see the potential in the players, especially some of the younger guys coming through. The lead-in time to the first matches is short and I am looking forward to getting started on this challenging role.”
Meanwhile HKFA CEO Mark Sutcliffe said White’s success in other countries was one of the reasons why he was selected. “Gary joins us with a wealth of experience at international level, having previously managed four senior international teams. His knowledge of football in Asia was also a factor that we took into consideration.” At the same time, Mr. Sutcliffe also called upon all football stakeholders in Hong Kong to get behind the new head coach and work with him to achieve the success that the general public is craving for.
Despite the CEO’s call to support, Gary White was met with mixed opinions from different football personalities in Hong Kong, even before his official appointment was confirmed. Some were critical of White’s previous methods and suggested that the HKFA only aims to buy a better FIFA ranking with money. Canny Leung, one of the the HKFA board members and former chairwoman of Pegasus, claimed that the FA has not followed the correct procedures in the recruitment process and threatened the board with her resignation.
No matter what’s the opinion on the new head coach, it is now time to give him a chance, and hopefully let the results soon speak for themselves.