Thursday, 17 October 2013

Thank you to our fans 感謝香港球迷的支持

Thank you to our fans


Just short of 8,000 people were at the Hong Kong Stadium last night to cheer on the Hong Kong Senior team. We have been criticized by some people for moving the game from Mong Kok stadium but if we hadn’t have done so there would have been a lot of disappointed people. The atmosphere was good at the HKS and it felt right to be holding this important international match in the National Stadium. We have to be ambitious and I feel that we are outgrowing Mong Kok except for less important friendly matches. The Hong Kong fans demonstrated their passion and I was proud to be associated with the local game. I want to say a big thank you to the fans for supporting the team, it means a lot to us. I hope that you will keep coming and that over time the numbers will swell even further.

Personally, I don’t think the 0:4 score line would have been any different if the match had been played anywhere else. They were clearly the superior side but you would expect that from a team ranked 66 places higher than us in the FIFA rankings, we have to be realistic in our expectations. Two late goals makes it look very one-sided but that’s not how I saw the game. It was competitive for most of the match and whilst our players generally were not as skillful as theirs, I cannot fault our team for work rate and commitment.

What this match reinforces is how much more work we need to do to develop players and how much more support we need to give them in their preparation for matches like this one. We are still lagging behind other countries in so many respects. We have no dedicated training facilities. We don’t have proper sports science support. We have no conditioning coach. We have no match/player analysis tools. I could go on but the point is that we do not have a fully developed ‘high performance’ system and culture; we are letting our players down. We know what we need to do, we have plans and ambitions in all of these areas of weakness. The only thing we lack is the resources to put these things in place. Until this situation changes we will have more nights like last night where our team does their very best but where their opponents are simply better prepared.

Everyone really wants success; the players, the coaches, the administrators and most of all the fans. There is no doubt that we are improving but equally we know there is a long way to go. We need further change and we need it now. We need a training centre quickly (goodness knows it has been talked about for long enough) and we need a properly resourced ‘high performance’ system including expert sports science support – similar to the resources and systems in place at the HKSI. Against the top foreign teams we cannot just rely on our coaches’ and players’ ‘fighting spirit’ and the support of our fans. These things are great but they will only carry us so far.
 
 

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感謝香港球迷的支持



昨晚近八千名市民親往香港大球場為香港代表隊吶喊助威,坊間有部分聲音質疑足總為何不將今場賽事安排在旺角大球場舉行,但若事實如此,相信會有很多球迷將被拒諸門外而敗興而回。香港大球場籠罩著一股熾熱的現場氣氛,引證了將這場重要的國際賽事移師至此實屬明智抉擇。除了一些比較次要的友誼賽外,我們應該展現雄心壯志,大膽求變,勇敢捨棄旺角大球場的桎梏。本港球迷盡情地展現熱情和激情,作為當中的一份子,本人萬分自豪。我在此由衷感謝廣大球迷對港隊的鼎力支持,為我們傾盡所有。我希望大家都能持之以恆入場支持,隨著時間沉澱,相信球迷數量將會持續攀升!

在本人的觀點上,無論這場賽事安排在任何一個場地舉行,我並不認為0:4的比賽結果將會發生任何改變。事實證明客軍的整體賽力較我們更強,在國際足協的排名上更高出六十六位之多,我們應該面對現實。兩個遲來的失球令這場賽事瞬間變得一面倒,但我絕不否定港隊球員所付出的努力,縱使技不如人,但雙方在大部分比賽時間內仍互有攻守,球隊落敗實非戰之罪!

這場比賽留下了一個啟示,究竟我們在培育本土球員的工作上應該如何進一步加強,以及如何提供更多支援來幫助他們備戰這類型大型賽事,我們在不同領域上仍落後於其他國家,例如我們沒有一個特定的訓練基地、我們沒有適合的運動科學支援、我們沒有體適能教練、我們沒有比賽/球員分析工具輔助等。我想指出的重點是我們欠缺一套完善的「高效能」系統,從而無法保持球員的最佳狀態。我們知道需要從何對症下藥,本身已有一套周全計劃和抱負去改善各項不足之處,唯一欠缺就是「東風」—將資源安放在合適的位置上。在現狀改變之前,我們或會有更多的比賽晚上,如昨夜般球隊雖奮力迎戰,奈何獲勝利女神眷顧的一方是備戰十足的對手。

每一位在場人士都想獲得勝利,包括球員、教練、職員以及廣大的球迷們,毫無疑問我們正在逐步改善,惟平心而論這條改革之路仍然漫長;我們需要求變,而且應付諸實行,期待訓練中心能盡快落成(眾所周知這是討論已久的項目)以及一套合適的「高效能」系統包含專業的運動科學支援—類似香港體育學院的現有設施。在迎戰實力強橫的外隊時,我們不能單純倚重教練及球員們的「拼搏精神」以及廣大球迷的全力支持,否則我們只能寸步難行。

 

 

3 comments:

  1. Dear Mr. Sutcliffe,

    How are you?

    I was one of the 8,000 who attended the match. Although I am fully aware that we are the inferior side and accept defeat is more or less inevitable, I am still disappointed with the score line and Mr. Kim's tactics.

    Mr. Kim seemed to me to have played too many players out of position. First with no. 23 Ju Yingzhi who was out of position and appeared out of his depth at this level. The choice of playing him also mean Chan Siu-Ki had to move to the wing which has never been his best position. He only rectified it when we were 0-1 down. By then we had to chase the game and given the difference in class it was never going to happen.

    Then the late change of Lo Kwan-Yi to Lee Wai-Lim was also baffling. Lee Wai-Lim never played right back in his life! And lots of people think this change was the main reason for the two late goals, both happened at HK's right defense. 0-2 and 0-4 is a big difference if it came down to goal difference in the end.

    I know Mr. Kim maybe trying to get a goal by introducing Lee Wai-Lim but we all knew this was not realistic. If he had played Jack Sealy instead I think we would only suffer a more respectable 0-2 defeat.

    I am not asking for Mr. Kim's head. He has done fantastic things for Hong Kong football. But he needs to be reminded that an official match (rather than a friendly) is no place for experiments.

    We still have a chance of beating Uzbekistan and Vietnam to second place in the group and that's why I am so upset with the loss of two late goals due to a stupid substitution. All the hard work of the previous 89 minutes were gone.

    Anyway I hope Mr. Kim learnt his lesson and play a more sensible team from now on. Beating Uzbekistan and Vietnam won't be easy but not impossible. If we lost out on qualifying due to goal difference then you would know the pain.

    Regards,

    Allan

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Allan,
    Thank you for your comments. As you would expect, we have had a de-brief here and many of the points you make were discussed. I'm not going to go into detail in public and at the end of the day, selection decisions and tactics must be down to the Head Coach.
    I have seldom met a more thoughtful and committed Coach than Mr KIM and let me tell you, no-one was more disappointed than him the other night. Rest assured that he will be reflecting on what happened against UAE and doing whatever is necessary to improve for the matches against UAE, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
    Mr KIM has my full support and I told him that after the UAE match.
    We can still qualify and that is our goal. You are right, it won't be easy. In the new FIFA rankings announced yesterday, UAE is up to 71, (77 places above HK) and Uzbekistan is ranked 55 (93 places higher than HK). It's a very tough group and these rankings put the task into perspective.
    As my blog points out, Hong Kong is a long way behind many countries in Asia in terms of football development, facilities and support.
    Please keep supporting.
    Regards
    Mark

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