R&F kicked off their pre-season press conference on August 29th in Guangzhou, detailing the plans for the new season, as well as unveiling as many as eight local new signings.
R&F’s budget this year, after having a disappointing season, has been elevated to HK$ 30 million at minimum. It could even be over 40 million including potential bonus payments if the team performs well. The new recruits this year are Lo Kwan-yee, Lam Zhi-gin, Sean Tse, Bai He, Lo Kong-wai, Paulinho, Leung Nok-hang, Tan Chun-lok and Yuen Chun-Sing. Under the guidance of former Eastern and Pegasus coach Yeung Ching-kwong, R&F also aim to win at least one trophy.
Local youngster Tan Chun-lok is met with high expectations, and was described as “a precious Hong Kong talent”. He will change his battlefield to the Chinese Super League by moving to Guangzhou R&F in the coming season. Vice chairman Huang Shenghua said: “We have been observing him for a couple of years, particularly since his incredible appearance in the Guangdong-Hong Kong Cup in January 2016. We would like him to become an iconic player for Hong Kong and wish China won’t be his final destination.” R&F also announced an ambitious goal: “We hope to apply for the full membership from the HKFA at the end of the season and hopefully are able to appear in the ACL or AFC Cup as a Hong Kong representative starting from the 2020/21 season.” In order to fulfill the requirements, the team has to become fully independent from the CSL club. The overall objective is to increase the reputation of the Hong Kong Premier League in Mainland China.
The club might bring in two more new foreign players as soon as Giovane da Silva completed his naturalisation. In the meanwhile, former Kitchee midfielder Krisztián Vadócz has been released by his current Hungarian club, and rumours suggest that he might be on his way to Guangzhou. However, R&F denied such a move: “This is the first time that we hear this news”, Yeung said. Huang revealed that an European defender is on the shortlist, but he has no previous experience in Asian football. Will Vadócz be next? It will come to light soon. R&F have their first league game on Sunday against Eastern at Hong Kong Stadium.