Monday, 13 March 2017

Could this be the Turning Point for Women’s Football



The Hong Kong Women’s Senior team beat Singapore yesterday in an international friendly match at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground. The 2-0 winning score line does not reflect the brilliance and dominance of the Hong Kong team. I am serious when I say that it was one of the best team performances I have seen in my time in Hong Kong. If it hadn’t been for the athleticism of their goal keeper, the woodwork and a dubious off-side decision the score would have been at least 5-0, and it would have been deserved.

From start to finish the Hong Kong team played with composure, skill and confidence. The passing was accurate, the movement off the ball excellent and the style of system of play consistent and effective. As well as the great teamwork, what impressed me most is the level of improvement in both individual skill and the physical fitness of the players. It is clear that there has been a lot of work done. I am so pleased that the passion and hard commitment has paid off. I told the coaches and players after the match that they should be proud of themselves. Hong Kong should be proud too.

There was a good crowd to witness the match which was fantastic and I could tell from the reaction that they were as impressed as I was. The support for women’s football in Hong Kong is getting stronger all the time.

The HKFA is committed to girls and women’s football and I personally think it is equally important to boys and men’s football. There is huge potential here and although we are starting from a low base, our Women’s Football Manager, Betty and Head Coach, Chi together with the other coaches and the players have done a brilliant job in developing both the grass roots and high performance football.

In the past girls and women’s football in Hong Kong has not really been taken seriously and they have often been given the worst pitches to train on at the worst times and in the worst places. In spite of that their commitment and drive has never wavered. Yesterday perhaps gave a glimpse into the future. Women’s football is often described as the fastest growing sport in the world. It is time Hong Kong capitalized on this demand and interest.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to women’s football development and thank you in particular to those involved yesterday. You gave me memories that will stay with me forever. It was an amazing performance.



Mark Sutcliffe CEO, March 2017    



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女子足球的契機?


香港女子足球代表隊昨日於將軍澳運動場舉行之國際友誼賽中以2-0擊敗新加坡,事實上最終之比分不能完全反映球隊於整場賽事的出色表現及壓倒性優勢,她們的表現亦是我來香港之後看過的最好之一。倘若不是對方守門員的優異演出又或者龍門框的阻撓以及值得商榷的越位判決,或許最終比分差距會是5球或以上。

由鳴笛開賽一刻起直至完場為止,隊員在場上都展現出信心、技術及沉著,無論傳送、走位、戰術、團隊合作及默契等都充滿效率而且表現出色,而個人技術以及體能上的進步及提升更令我印象深刻。顯然地這是努力的成果,我亦為他們的熱誠及付出感到欣慰。賽後,我跟教練及一眾球員說道她們應為自己感到自豪,而香港人亦應為她們感到驕傲。

香港球迷對女足的支持度正日漸提升,昨天一同欣賞賽事及見證港隊勝利的過千名購票入場的現場觀眾,應該與我一樣對她們留下深刻印象。

除了男子足球外,香港足球總會一直致力發展本地女足,因為我們很清楚當中蘊藏著的巨大潛力。女子足球經理黃若玲 (Betty) 、女子代表隊主教練陳淑芝連同一眾教練及球員對於本地女子草根及高效足球的發展實在功不可沒。

女子足球於過去時常被忽略,不時獲分配最差的訓練時間、地區及場地,但她們對足球的堅持從未被動搖,昨天的賽事或許正是未來的契機。女子足球被譽為現今體壇發展最迅速的運動之一,香港亦是時候把握這個機遇了。

感謝所有為香港女子足球發展出一分力以及於昨天一同參與及見證賽事的每一位,我會永遠記得這場賽事以及一眾女將出色的表現。


香港足球總會行政總裁薛基輔

一七年三月

6 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Mark! It was amazing that around 1,300 people attended the friendly yesterday, and most of them bought the tickets to support the women team. I hope there will be more supporters for the forthcoming U15 and U18 tournaments on March 17-19.

    Also, just learnt that HKFA has successfully arranged another friendly with Jordan for the men team in early June 2017. I really appreciate the effort of your team. Thank you!

    Best regards,
    Dennis

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  2. Thanks for the comment Dennis. We have a great team of people here at the HKFA that really cares about the future of HK football. I don't mind admitting that I had a lump in my throat watching the teams walk out at the match yesterday in front of the excellent crowd. I never expected to see it and I am so proud of what we are achieving!
    Regards,
    Mark

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  3. Dear Mark,

    We have a quite lucky draw for Men U16 team today. If our boys could beat Taiwan, Macau, Brunei, and obtain a draw or a narrow loss to DPR Korea, it will be optimistic to advance to the main competition since the 2014 edition.

    We hosted the qualifiers for 2014 U-16 Asian Cup, so a good result was achieved. Will your team consider hosting it in this year?

    Thanks,
    Dennis

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  4. Hi Dennis, thanks for your comment. We have discussed this internally. Last time we hosted the qualification group it cost us in excess of HK$1m because the money we get as host from the AFC does not cover the expenses involved. As you know the cost of accommodation, meals etc is higher in Hong Kong than in other countries. Although as hosts we would have a better chance of qualification, we simply can't afford it.
    Regards,
    Mark

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  5. Hi Mark,

    With the end of the season near, fans once again started to speculate about how many and which teams would be playing next season.

    It turns out there could be 13 teams in the Premier League - a bit of a surprise to some given the situation last year. Happy to see more investments in local football. Hopefully all current LCSD venues and stand-by venues would be available next season to accommodate all of the teams.

    Has a decision been made yet on the maximum number of participating teams?

    Assume that the number remains 12, Sapling (hopefully a genuine HK U22 team this time) successfully applied for Participating Membership (no longer Associate Member through sponsorship) and all 13 teams fulfil Licence requirements -

    If HKFC applies to stay, there will be no licence left for Lee & Man (Associate Member through sponsorship). Otherwise the last licence would be granted to Lee & Man. In both cases, that means R&F completed their historical mission after one season.

    In case the HKFA decides to give green light to all 13 teams, there could be insufficient technically competent local players in the pool to form a competitive league. Maybe it is time to consider altering the local player rule on R&F, allowing them to recruit some foreign players on top of local and Chinese players? It is obvious that the team they field this season is not strong enough, not to mention whether they have successfully raise the standard of play on the pitch. I bet they would be happy to sign quality foreign players, especially after failing to reach their target this season, finishing outside top six. All players, not only emerging talents from R&F, but the players of the whole league, would benefit playing in a more competitive environment.

    Again I guess clubs would prefer even number of teams under the double round robin system as there will no bye. Maybe a follow up with the team from Macau which shown interest in participating last year to see if they are ready to join in the coming season?

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  6. Hi there, thanks for the comment. I am not sure where the rumour about 13 teams has come from. We have established a new Competitions Committee to determine the number and which teams will participate, similar to the new AFC Entry Control Body.
    The Committee has met once already and has confirmed a target of 12 (maximum) teams as well as the priority criteria for entry. The Committee is due to meet again next week to consider the teams based on their submission to us about their intent next season.
    I hope that helps to clarify the situation for now.
    Regards,
    Mark

    ReplyDelete