Bayer Leverkusen, Leicester City, Olympique Marseille at Soccer Sevens

Defending Soccer Sevens champions Aston Villa will face German newcomers Bayer Leverkusen, HKFA U-23 and competition regulars Singapore Cricket Club in an intriguing looking Group C after the draw for the May 26-28 tournament took place at Hong Kong Football Club on Tuesday.

Villa defeated West Ham United 2-0 in last year’s final to lift the trophy for a record sixth time having last been victorious in 2010. And the holders’ match against Leverkusen – the first side from Germany to compete in the tournament – promises to be one of the most interesting of the group stage.

We knew it was going to be exciting with the new teams coming in,” said Soccer Sevens Tournament Director Chris Plowman. Leverkusen are one of three debutants from Europe, with Olympique Marseille and Cagliari Calcio becoming the first teams from France and Italy respectively to feature as the tournament increases it’s international flavour.

In 2015, Atletico Madrid became the first Spanish side to appear at the tournament as they made their debut in style by lifting the Cup following a thrilling 3-2 win over West Ham after extra-time in the final.

Marseille have been drawn in Group D alongside 2015 and 2016 runners-up West Ham. Hong Kong Premier League side and 2011 winners Kitchee along with Yau Yee League Select, who represent the local amateur league complete the group.

Cagliari are in Group A, where they will meet 2009 and 2010 runners-up Glasgow Rangers, who return after a two-year absence. South Korea’s FC Seoul, who reached the semi-final on their debut, and Hong Kong Football Club make up the group.

We wanted to become more international,” added Plowman. “We were fortunate enough to get Atletico Madrid in 2015 and they were a just a revelation. They played fantastic football and came back in the final from 2-0 down to win. That got us excited and we thought let’s carry that on and go out to more of the European leagues and see if this event will be of interest to them and they all responded positively.”

For local Premier League side and hosts Hong Kong Football Club the group will be a huge test against sides with contrasting styles from all over the world. “It’s a tough draw, but we’re looking to [get through] and play in the Main tournament,” said HKFC captain Andrew Wylde

It’s good fun, but it’s going to be tough. You get close to them and they’ll spin you, you give them time and they’ll turn at you. The fitness is one thing, but it’s the ability to stick with them with their quality.”

English Premier League Champions Leicester – winners of the Shield last year – have been paired with 2016 semi-finalists Wellington Phoenix, Japan’s Kashima Antlers and HKFC Captain’s Select. The match-up with Wellington marks a repeat of last year’s quarter-final in which the A-League side from New Zealand ran out 2-1 winners over the English side.

In the Masters tournament, holders Citi All Stars, who won the competition for the first-time last year after beating local side USRC 3-1 in the final, have been drawn in Group A alongside Singapore Cricket Club Tigers, HKFC Masters, Discovery Bay and last year’s beaten finalists.

In Group B, Playon Pros – who will bring with them an exciting line-up of former English Premier League players, have been paired with Wallsend Boys Club, Kowloon Cricket Club Veterans, HKFC Chairman’s Select and Yau Yee League Masters.

The format is great because there’s always lots of action on the pitch and the games are relatively short,” added Hong Kong Football Association Chief Executive Mark Sutcliffe. There’s a lot of space on the pitch for people to exploit so it’s a very exciting format. There are some fantastic teams and big names, so this is a great opportunity for some of our players to test themselves against players from other countries.”

Soccer Sevens 2017

Group A
Cagliari Calcio, Glasgow Rangers, FC Seoul, Hong Kong Football Club

Group B
Leicester City, Wellington Phoenix, Kashima Antlers, HKFC Captain’s Select

Group C
Aston Villa, Bayer Leverkusen, HKFA U-23, Singapore Cricket Club

Group D
Marseille, West Ham, Kitchee, Yau Yee League Select

Masters Tournament

Group A
Citi All Stars, Singapore Cricket Club Tigers, HKFC Masters, Discovery Bay, USRC

Group B
Playon Pros, Wallsend Boys Club, Kowloon Cricket Club Veterans, HKFC Chairman’s Select, Yau Yee League Masters.

Soccer Sevens

Date: 26-28 May, 2017
Venue: HK Football Club
Tickets: $300 (Weekend pass), $160 (Day ticket), Free (Friday night) from Ticketflap
More info:
26 May (Fri): 6 – 9pm; exhibition youth matches start at 4.45pm
27 May (Sat): 9am – 7.40pm
28 May (Sun): 9am – 6pm

Soccer Sevens Return in May

The HKFC Soccer Sevens turn 18 this year, with Tournament Director Chris Plowman announcing an expanded main event line-up of top leagues sending teams looking to dethrone 2016 winners Aston Villa.

“I can tell you now,” said Plowman “that we will be seeing representation from three of Europe’s top leagues: Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga as well as our regular visitors from the Premier League and Scotland’s Premier League, plus teams from the K-League in South Korea, the J.League in Japan, Australia’s A-League, Singapore and, of course, Hong Kong.”

The Masters tournament which runs alongside the main event and features many legends of the past will again see a team from the legendary Wallsend Boys Club. Founded in 1904 just outside Newcastle the Boys Club has been the footballing birthplace for a long line of players including Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley, Michael Carrick and Tony Sealy.

Wallsend are setting up a local branch. “We are looking to establish exactly what we have on Tyneside in Hong Kong and give underprivileged children the chance to play football and get them into leagues. We will supply strips from the UK and give them all the backing that we can,” said Wallsend Boys Club chairman Steve Dale.

HKFC Soccer Sevens
Date: 26-28 may, 2017
Venue: HK Football Club
Tickets: tbc

Match Report: Hong Kong 2-0 Singapore @ Mongkok – 11 October, 2016

https://youtu.be/81T_BzqUMb0

Hong Kong beat Singapore 2-0 in an international friendly at Mong Kok Stadium. Alex Akande got the hosts on their way with a clinical strike four minutes before the break. A powerful drive from Huang Yang in the 70th minute to put the result beyond doubt.

Irfan Fandi, the eldest son of Singapore legend Fandi Ahmad, made his debut as the visitors showed plenty of energy and initiative in the opening exchanges. However, the home team gradually forced their way into the contest. In the 33rd minute, catching the defence napping, Sandro threaded a neat through-pass to Akande. But Lions’ keeper Izwan Mahbud was alert to the danger, and raced off his line to deny the Kitchee striker.

Hong Kong broke the deadlock eight minutes later when Lam Ka Wai lofted the ball between two Singaporean defenders and into the path of Akande who did well to control the bouncing ball before coolly firing into the far corner.

Buoyed at taking the lead, and with the majority of the 4,136 fans cheering them on, the hosts looked the likelier of the two sides to score after the break. Singapore did have an opportunity to equalise in the 69th minute when the lively Iqbal Hussain latched onto Shakir Hamzah’s cross only to blast wide of the near post.

A minute later and Hong Kong scored their second. Roberto’s floated pass was nodded down by Jaimes McKee to Akande, who turned provider by laying the ball off for Huang to drill an unstoppable effort past Izwan.

Deep into injury-time, Singapore had a chance to pull a goal back as Iqbal forced Yapp into a flying reflex save that denied the Lions an opportunity to salvage some pride with a consolation goal.

Hong Kong:
Yapp Hung Fai, Cheng King Ho, Festus Baise (Andy Russell 65′), Helio, Lee Hong Lim (Leung Chun Pong 78′), Huang Yang (Lo Kwan Yee 87′), Lam Ka Wai (Jaimes McKee 65′), Sandro (Wong Wai 77′), Xu Deshuai (Roberto 65′), Godfred Karikari, Alex Akande
Scorers: Alex Akande (41′), Huang Yang (70′)

Singapore:
Izwan Mahbud, Madhu Mohana (Faris Ramli 80′), Baihakki Khaizan (Fahrudin Mustafic 58′), Daniel Bennett, Shakir Hamzah, Iqbal Hussain, M. Anumanthan, Hariss Harun (Izzdin Shafiq 64′), Gabriel Quak (Shawal Anuar 77′), Irfan Fandi (Faritz Hameed 59′), Khairul Amri (Yasir Hanapi 78′)

Additional reporting: Agencies

Pegasus 2016-17 Pre Season Party – 23 August, 2016

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Pegasus introduced new manager Steve Gallen at their 2016-17 pre-season party. The former QPR first team coach, in his first managerial appointment, said he was looking forward to the challenge “Pegasus had a good season last year doing well in the Cup competitions, we want to continue winning there but our main target is the league title”.
Click on any photo for the full gallery of images

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Hong Kong Friendlies

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Hong Kong’s men’s football team will have four friendlies later this year as the team prepares for the East Asian Cup and 2019 Asian Cup third round qualifier. Three of the matches are at home in the Mongkok Stadium against Cambodia, Turkmenistan and Singapore while there’s an away match to Cambodia on the 6 October, 2016.

Individual tickets are $150 per match from www.hkfa.com, or buy a combo-ticket for all three games for $390.

Hong Kong v Cambodia
Date: 8pm, 1 September, 2016
Venue: Mongkok Stadium
Tickets: $150

Hong Kong v Turkmenistan
Date: 8pm, 6 September, 2016
Venue: Mongkok Stadium
Tickets: $150

Hong Kong v Singapore
Date: 8pm, 11 October, 2016
Venue: Mongkok Stadium
Tickets: $150

HK Soccer Sevens Draw

HKFC Soccer Sevens 2016 draw

Premier League pacesetters Leicester City will face last year’s runners-up West Ham United at the HKFC Soccer Sevens in May after the English clubs were paired together in Group D alongside HKFA U-21 and Singapore Cricket Club following Tuesday’s draw.

Leicester won the HKFC Soccer Sevens at the second time of asking when they defeated defending champions Newcastle United 2-0 in the 2013 final after winning the Shield competition on their inaugural appearance a year earlier. The current Premier League leaders were also Plate champions in 2014 before suffering a penalty shootout defeat in the Plate final to hosts Hong Kong Football Club last year.

West Ham, meanwhile, are also HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens regulars, and enjoyed their best-ever performance at the tournament in 2015 when they finished as runners-up to Spain’s Atletico Madrid.

“It’s a fantastic draw to see HKFA U-21 pitted against the possible champions of the Premier League and a team that may well end up in the Champions League, so that’s a highlight,” said the Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong Football Association Mark Sutcliffe. “It’s also a wonderful opportunity for players from Hong Kong to test themselves; we’re trying to develop football here and the only way to do that is to play against better players. I’m really looking forward to the weekend; it’s always an excellent tournament with some fantastic players of the past, present and future.”

A trio of former champions, meanwhile, will compete in Group A, where five-time winners Aston Villa will take on 2012 champions Newcastle United and local side Kitchee, who won the 2011 title.

Aston Villa are the tournament’s most decorated team having claimed the title in 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010, and have also been represented over the years by players including forward Gabby Agbonlahor, England and Chelsea centre-back Gary Cahill, Leicester midfielder Marc Albrighton and Jack Grealish, who was the competition’s top scorer in 2013 and 2014.

The group is completed by hosts Hong Kong Football Club, who enjoyed their best-ever performance at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens last year when they won the Plate for the first time after edging out Leicester on penalties following a goalless draw.

An intriguing Group C sees Japan’s Kashima Antlers as well as debutants FC Seoul of South Korea, who replace Atlético de Madrid after the Spaniards late withdrawal, and Thai Youth Football Home face HKFC Captain’s Select

Kashima, who have won the Japanese title a record seven times, are participating in the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens for the first time since 2004 and will also be the first Japanese side to compete at the event since 2008.

FC Seoul will be Korea’s first ever representative at the tournament, while Thai Youth Football Home are to make a special appearance as they mark 10 years since the passing of their founder and former member of Hong Kong Football Club Henrik Lorenz.

Finally in Group B, Stoke City and New Zealand’s Wellington Phoenix will face a yet to be named side from the Hong Kong Premier League as well as Yau Yee League Select.

Wellington enjoyed an impressive first appearance at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens in 2015 after losing 1-0 after extra-time to Atletico in the semi-finals, while Stoke lost 2-0 to HKFC Captain’s Select in the Plate quarter-finals last year.

“We’re delighted with the line-up we’ve put together and we’re looking forward to another all-action, exciting tournament,” said HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens Tournament Director Chris Plowman.

“We’ve got clubs from as far apart as Newcastle in the north of England to Wellington in New Zealand taking part. I’m also particularly pleased to have two major soccer leagues in Asia represented in the J.League and the K-League Classic, with FC Seoul doing particularly well at the moment. And what a success story with Leicester; we’re all wondering if we’ll be welcoming the Premier League champions.”

The draw for the Masters Tournament also took place on Tuesday, with two-time champions Ajax All Stars returning to join 2015 winners USRC, HKFC Chairman’s Select, KCC Veterans and Discovery Bay in Group A.

And Group B sees 2015 finalists Wallsend Boys Club face Citi All Stars, HKFC Veterans, SCC Tigers and Yau Yee League Veterans.

“I’m really excited to come back again,” said Wallsend Boys Club’s former Sunderland, Leeds United and Newcastle United striker Michael Bridges, who scored in last year’s 2-1 final defeat by USRC. “Our team is made up of some ex-professionals and amateurs, so it’s really good that we’re flying the flag for the club. After getting to the semis two years ago and the final last year, obviously the next step is to go on and win the trophy. The tournament is a great place to see some of the up-and-coming talent and meet ex-pros. It’s so well organised and such a good event.”

Soccer Sevens
Date: 20-22 May, 2016
Venue: HK Football Club
Tickets: $300 (Weekend pass), $160 (Day ticket), Free (Friday night) from Cityline
More info:
29 May (Fri): 6 – 9pm; exhibition youth matches start at 4.45pm
30 May (Sat): 9am – 7.40pm
31 May (Sun): 9am – 6pm

Hong Kong v China – Chinese Fans @ Mongkok Stadium, 17 November, 2015

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For reasons known only to the police and Hong Kong Football Association the media were banned from taking photos of the Chinese fan’s section at Hong Kong v China World Cup qualifier. After multiple complaints a brief period of photography was allowed – before the area in-front of the Chinese fans was again at no-go zone from 7pm.
Here are some of the 500 Chinese fans who made the trip.
Click on any photo to access the full gallery.

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