Monday, 15 July 2013

Women’s Football 女子足球

Women’s Football

Girls and Women’s football in Hong Kong is really starting to take off and I’m absolutely delighted about that. One of the main recommendations of Project Phoenix was the integration of Women’s football into the HKFA. The report recognized the potential to harness increasing interest in and demand for girls and women’s football. It is after all the fasted growing sport in the world!

In recent months we have appointed a Women’s Football Manager, Ms Betty Wong who has outstanding credentials to lead this important and growing area of work. Together with our Women’s Head Coach, Ms Chan Shuk Chi we have people with limitless energy and passion for the sport as well as the expertise and knowledge to make a real difference.

I have had the pleasure to witness some of our female players in action both at Futsal and football and I have been genuinely impressed by the quality. What comes across more than anything however is the desire to improve, the enthusiasm and the obvious love of the game. It is uplifting to see such commitment. The HKFA must respond by building on this drive and putting in place the systems and resources necessary to take this facet of the sport forward.

There is huge potential and we want to ensure that every girl and woman in Hong Kong who wants to play football has the opportunity to do so. We also need to put in place the programmes and ‘pathways’ to ensure that our female players can progress to being elite footballers if they have the interest and talent.

We will soon have a five-year plan to do just that.

One of the first initiatives we have organized is a Girls Football Festival ‘Let’s Kick for Fun’ which was held on 6th July. This project was funded by FIFA and involved over 150 girls between the ages of 5-14. As well as being fun, the girls learned new skills and hopefully reinforced their desire to make football their chosen sport. Of course I am biased but I truly believe that football is a wonderful sport for girls as much as it is for boys. It encourages physical health and well-being, teamwork, respect for self and others, discipline and self-confidence.

I believe that playing football should be encouraged by parents of both boys and girls, and by the way, it has been proven that playing sport boosts cognitive development so sport and education should go hand in hand not be mutually exclusive!

So Women’s football in Hong Kong has a bright future, of that I have no doubt.

It would be remiss of me not to mention a pioneer of women’s football in Hong Kong, Ms Veronica Chan Yiu-kam. Veronica has devoted her life to women’s football in Hong Kong and almost single-handedly kept the ball rolling, literally. The current custodians of women’s football, myself included will ensure that this dedication is not wasted, that the foundations are built upon and that there is a sustainable legacy.