Ready for kick-off

Ready for kick-off

Hong Kong's under-15 squad will face some stiff competition at the Games


Hong Kong's under-15 football team will face two tough sides in the group stage of the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing.
Hong Kong's under-15 football team will face two tough sides in the group stage of the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing.
Photo: Kevin Kung/SCMP
Hong Kong's under-15 football squad have their work cut out for them: they will be taking on some of Asia's best teams in the group stage of the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing .

The 16 teams are divided into four groups. Hong Kong is in Group C with Iran, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. The top two teams in each group will advance to the quarter-finals.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are strong teams so Hong Kong will have to be in top form right from the start. The city's 18-member squad features seven players from Yokohama FC, including team captain Jordan Lam Lok-kan.

The 14-year-old midfielder, a Form Two student at Diocesan Boys' School, believes the team has a good chance of progressing to the last eight, despite the "unlucky" draw.

"It's true that we'll be playing as underdogs against Iran and Saudi Arabia, both of whom have very tall players and are physically very strong," Jordan said. "But if we can at least get a draw in any of the two matches and beat Indonesia, which is on a similar level with us, we can still progress from the group."

Jordan, who has played for Hong Kong's under-15 team for three years, recently led them at the fourth China Weifang Hope Cup International Youth Football Tournament, in Weifang , Shandong province.

The team won all five of its matches and finished first in the tournament. "The other teams were weaker than us, but we didn't relax and still played at full strength," said Jordan. "It was the first time we had competed against teams that we were not familiar with. I'm glad that we were able to implement the tactics we agreed on before each match."

Jordan's schoolmate and fellow midfielder Brian Kot Chun-hey, 14, is hoping to learn from the football style of each opponent at the Games. "I think our team has not yet reached its peak form," he said. "With more regular training before the Games, we will be able to deliver our best in Nanjing."

Centre back Marco Cheung Chun-hin, 14, a Form Three student at YOT Tin Ka Ping Secondary School, helped his team win two friendly matches against the under-14 squads of Rangers and Pegasus last month.

"They are old rivals and we always face each other in league competitions," Marco said. "The victories boosted our confidence. But we'll still need to pass the ball faster and move quicker at the Games."

Goalkeeper Tse Ka-wing will play a vital role in Nanjing. But he isn't worried.

"I attended Yokohama's training camp in Spain this past Easter," said Ka-wing, 14, a Form Two student at Confucian Ho Kwok Pui Chun College. "I learned to be serious about training. I just need to play my part well on the pitch, that's all. I am not feeling too much pressure at the moment."

Hong Kong's first match will be against Saudi Arabia tomorrow. It will then face Iran on Thursday and play their last group match against Indonesia on Saturday.

Also, see Kevin's previews of Hong Kong's other representatives to the 2013 Asian Youth Games:

- Athletics
- Badminton
- Fencing
- Girls' rugby
- Golf
- Handball
- Judo
- Rugby
- Squash
- Swimming
- Table tennis
- Tennis



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