Yew Chung International School's star football player returns from AFC U19 Championship 2016 Qualifier

Yew Chung International School's star football player returns from AFC U19 Championship 2016 Qualifier

Perry Ko already represents the U18 Hong Kong National Football Team, but he's got his eyes on the big leagues

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Perry Ko has his eye on the ball.

It can always be nerve-wracking to perform in front of an audience. Even having one person watching can be enough to send some people into a panic. Now just imagine performing in front of 18,000 people.

Perry Ko Shing-yan says those were the crowd numbers he and the rest of the Hong Kong National Football Team U18 faced at the AFC U19 Championship 2016 Qualifier in Yangon, Myanmar last autumn.

"After our last match against Brunei we watched the last match of this tournament, which was Myanmar against Vietnam," says Perry, a 17-year-old student at Yew Chung International School.

"The attendance for this match was 18,070. That's even more than the attendance of a Hong Kong premier league match. The atmosphere and the fans' attitude also surprised me since they were cheering for the Myanmar players all the way to the end, even though Myanmar lost the match."

The tournament was a tough one for the Hong Kong youth team, which went up against Vietnam, Timor-Leste, Brunei and, of course, Myanmar.

"Myanmar was the greatest threat in this tournament because as the host country, they had more than 4,000 fans supporting them each match, which put a lot of pressure on us," says Perry.

But despite the challenge the match presented, for Perry it was still a dream come true. "Being selected to represent the Hong Kong National Football Team U18 and getting promoted to the Biu Chun Rangers Football Club first team are my greatest personal achievements in football, because these are every youth player's dream," he says.

Perry has been kicking a football ever since he was six years old. "My ultimate goal in football is just the same as any other football player, which is to represent the Hong Kong National Football Team," he says. "Especially when Hong Kong supporters are becoming more passionate, this motivates me to work harder to achieve what I want in football."

The matches in Myanmar gave Perry a taste of the kind of enthusiasm fans can have in major matches. The Hong Kong team ended up besting Brunei 5-0, and drawing with Timor-Leste 0-0, but lost narrowly to Vietnam 3-1, and 2-1 to Myanmar. But Perry says they entered every game with the same fighting spirit.

"One of the quotes from my coach inspired me," Perry says. "He said that this tournament could be our last opportunity to represent the Hong Kong Youth Team, so what we have to do is to do our best in every single game and 'die for Hong Kong.'"

But what stuck with Perry the most was the message the team captain, Wu Chun Ming, had for them: "There are people who don't think we're worth much. We have to prove them wrong."


Bench Notes

What song/ movie title best describes you when you're playing your sport?
GOAL! The Dream Begins

You can have any superpower you choose for 24 hours. What do you choose and how do you use this power?
I have always wondered what it would be like to be a football superstar. If I could have a superpower for 24 hours, I would like to be able to swap identities with others, and the person I would swap with is Lionel Messi.

If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
If I could have an unlimited supply of anything, I wish it would be time, because time is scarce. If I spend more time on schoolwork and training, I have less time to rest. However, if I had an unlimited supply of time, I would be able to work and train for as long as I want, since I would also have plenty of time to recover.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Ko-nan the konqueror

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