Hong Kong football is now facing unprecedented challenges.
Sandro kindly took the time time to express his views on the current state of the game in Hong Kong and the growing number of players, who still have the hunger and desire to play the game they love, despite being out of contract.
You still have the huge desire to play professional football. What keeps you motivated in such challenging times?
“I started playing football when I was 7 years old. It has been a lifetime and I really don’t intend to stop playing now. I still have a lot of football ahead of me. I feel good and conditioned to play at a high level. I know the football world is going through difficult times but the storm won’t last forever. I will keep working on my physical and mental fitness. I have professionals as well as a sports psychologist to help me through these difficult times. Professional footballer cannot give up their career because they are in difficulties. We must persist as difficulties come to strengthen us.”
How can out of contract players help themselves in such times to stay positive?
“I believe that keeping your head focused on the goal to be achieved is the most effective way to not give up. There will be difficult days and there will be days that a player will want to give up and it is not easy, even for me. If I think, I will give up one day then I will be giving up everything that I want to do. So I think, ‘I am going to focus on the goal and I’m only going to stop when I get there.”
What else can be done to help the out-of-contract players?
“I believe that it must first be understood that a professional football player is a football player and not a part-time worker; athletes need daily training, dedication and investments. The results will only show if investments are made. That’s why federations need to take care of athletes, see a way to help in training and the entry of athletes into teams.
I believe that using local players during these times will decrease the percentage of unemployed players. Foreign help is important for a team to achieve goals but given the current situation in football, one must first use local players and not imported foreign aid. This is because there are many unemployed local players and local players need to be trained and prepared in order to defend the HK national team. Young players must also gain experience to play in international competitions. There are many unemployed young local players and the youth need to play and gain experience because they are the future of HK football.”
Tough times for all so let’s hope for a better future.