Happy Valley are finally back in the top tier of Hong Kong football after several years out of the limelight. Igor Miović, the towering defender, has been the bedrock in their defence and has been an experienced head to help guide this very young team back to the top.
Miović and the club could reminisce about past glories though they know that they have a tough task at hand this season to re-establish themselves and stabilize their position. In an exclusive interview, Miović discusses the potential of this new generation of Happy Valley players and his expectations for the season.
Miović first discussed Happy Valley’s first few games back in the top flight and he did not expect it to be easy for the newcomers though he has been happy with their slow improvements.
“Happy Valley have played three games (at the time of the interview) and we have four points and in the last game, I think we lost two points as we were leading 3-0 till the 70th minute. In the last twenty minutes of that game, it was crazy as Pegasus scored three times! If we won this game then maybe we would have six points and then maybe we would be in fourth place in the table.”
Despite Happy Valley’s initial slow start, Miović believes that the team will improve over time and each game is a learning experience.
“I think for this young Happy Valley team, it has been a good experience so far especially as we lost our first game 5-0 against Kitchee but in the next few games, we have improved and we have improved day by day.”
The Serbian thinks the number of young players in the side bodes well for the long-term health of the domestic game.
“Happy Valley have many young players and I think this is good not only for our team but it is also good for Hong Kong as many teams do not have so many young players. Many teams want to have some experienced players especially local players who have played for many years in the league. Happy Valley have many good quality young players.”
Miović says the tight bond between the team is key to Happy Valley’s resurgence and that a family atmosphere exists at the team.
“Last season, some of our players were aged between 17 to 20 years old. The players were young and I think this is good for Hong Kong football as these players will gain more experience. We are like one big family and there is a nice atmosphere and there is a lot of respect between everyone.”
Happy Valley were a huge team in their heyday and even in their lower-tier games, Happy Valley still had some loyal supporters who came to the games.
“This current team have played together now for two years and this season, we have some good overseas players who can add experience. We had some fans who came to the games, not so many, but we still have fans.”
Win, lose or draw, the team like to reflect on each game and have a general post-match meeting to see which areas they can work on as a team.
“After games, we have team meetings to talk about the game we just played and it is all a learning experience. We listen to the coach and what he says and we learn from our mistakes and we celebrate our good moments.”
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Happy Valley are finally back in the top division and like Miović, they intend to stay there.