Born in Kyoto, represented North Korea at youth level and now a South Korean passport holder, Lee Man’s defender Son Min-chol has attracted a lot of media attention being the first North Korean to ever play in Hong Kong Premier League.
Although there might be an impression of “defecting” from North Korea, Son’s switch of allegiance across the Military Demarcation Line was far from dramatic, and he emphasised it was purely due to the ease of travel arrangements and visa applications with a South Korean passport. Son has only visited his previous homeland three times through North Korea youth team training camps and only has good words to mention about what he has seen there.
Only on his second day in Hong Kong, Son has enjoyed Hong Kong so far and is ready for his new challenges. Having played previously in India, the hot weather in his new country of residence should not pose any problems to him. In introducing himself, Son sees his strengths in the game as similar to other Korean defenders, with a strong physique and good abilities in the air. He hopes to help Lee Man achieve a solid league position, even setting his sights towards a top three finish. His previous knowledge of Hong Kong football was limited to the presence of Kitchee, South China and Eastern but there was also coverage on the former Hong Kong league champions Eastern in Japan thanks to their participation in the Asian Champions League.