Last Year the HKFA won the prestigious Developing Member Association Award at the glittering AFC Annual Awards Dinner. We didn’t apply under this category this time because we wanted to give other Member Associations a chance! However, we were nominated for the best Grassroots Football Programme but unfortunately didn’t win that accolade this time.
As most people know the Eastern Head Coach Chan Yuen-ting was nominated for and won the Women’s Coach of the Year Award. This is a fantastic achievement and I offer her my sincere congratulations. It caps an unbelievable year for her. The success of CHAN Yuen-ting has been phenomenal, equaled only by the world-wide attention that has been generated. Whilst undoubtedly being in the right place at the right time initially, she certainly grasped the opportunity with both hands and overcame many challenges that would have been daunting to most people. The success of Eastern in winning the League under her leadership is a testament to her skills, knowledge and dedication. What is equally impressive is that she has retained her humility throughout the blaze of publicity. She is a credit to Hong Kong, to Hong Kong Football but most importantly to herself.
The AFC Award is one of many accolades she has won and they are all important in raising the profile of Hong Kong football. The HKFA leads the way in gender equality. We have a female Director, a female Head of Competitions, a leading lady referee, a female Women's Head Coach and Women's Football Manager not to mention the many females working in senior positions in our clubs. Since integrating girls and women's football into the HKFA in 2011 we have made huge strides in terms of increased participation and we have plans to develop this even further.
I believe that Ms Yuen-ting is a role model generally for young people to ‘follow their dreams’ but more specifically for football too. I am sure she will inspire people to become involved in football in many capacities including as players and coaches, irrespective of gender.
HKFA Competitions Team
I was inspired to write this blog because of a letter I received from the President of the EAFF following our hosting of their Round 2 Qualification Competition in November. For those of you who don’t know him, Kohzo Tashima-san is a former Japan international player and Head Coach and is now a Member of the FIFA Council as well as playing major roles in both the AFC and EAFF. He is one of the most respected and experienced people in football and must have witnessed more tournaments than virtually anyone else. I reproduce below what he had to say about the HKFA. For Kohzo-san to refer to the ‘best competition team in Asia’ is very heartwarming. The staff of the HKFA get very little thanks and recognition for the tireless work they do. It is little things like this that makes the job worthwhile.
I am proud of the work that we do and will continue to do my best to lead the best in Asia!
Mark Sutcliffe CEO, December 2016