Wednesday, April 09, 2014


Hong Kong, Myanmar Sides Too Much For Tampines, Kelantan

Kitchee v Tampines Rovers 4-0

Something is going on in Hong Kong football that seems to be passing insular South East Asia by. A couple of things of late have made me sit up and take notice...first was Pakistan international Zesh Rehman leaving the 'popular' Thai Premier League's Muang Thong United for a two year stint at Kitchee.

The next was Hong Kong side South China breezing past Tampines Rovers earlier in the year at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Then we had the sight of Kitchee thumping Singapore's finest 5-0 also in Singapore.

I went to Hong Kong and took in a couple of games, check out the pictures on Asian Football Pictures, and came away impressed with what I had seen. Not the biggest teams in the territory but good, footballing sides, committed to attack and playing the ball on the ground.

There must be something in the water up there, or perhaps, even a reasonable, professional management structure in place that is allowing coaches to coach and players to play.

So it was no surprise then to see Kitchee knock Tampines aside last night in the AFC Cup. Yet the Stags need just a draw in their final group stage game at home to Nay Pyi Taw to go through to the next round.

Worryingly, Nay Pyi Taw come from Myanmar

Kelantan v Yangon United 2-3

In their defence, you could argue Kelantan are running on empty as they are in the middle of 14 games in 42 days; a gruelling schedule that would have Jose Mourinho with a stack of excuses up his leave for a tame media yet has the Malaysian journos having a pop at coach Steve Darby.

Yangon, coached by Eric Williams, secured their spot in the next round of the AFC Cup with a hard fought 3-2 at a sparsely stadium in Kota Bahru while Kelantan will be faced with one last battle against South China to avoid bottom place.

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