HongKong & Kitchee Captain Speaks Asian Football
Helping his Club to win its first League title in 47 years, the once record holder of being the youngest ever, at the age of just 15yrs old, to play at the highest level of
Helping his Club to win its first League title in 47 years, the once record holder of being the youngest ever, at the age of just 15yrs old, to play at the highest level of football in Hong Kong, the former Hong Kong Footballer of the Year & Hong Kong International opens his heart and shares his football with Junpiter Futbol…
JPF: Beside being the Captain of the team, undoubtedly you are also the “Icon” of Kitchee SC all these years. How do you feel about that?
LKY: I have been with the Club since 2007 and have seen the progress of the club and also learnt a lot over the years. Honestly I am very happy to be known as the icon of Kitchee. I know all these do not come easily, I am grateful and thankful for the support.
JPF: Like you have mentioned, you have been with the Club for so many years, where do you see the Club in the next 3 years?
LKY: We set targets & goals every year so as to continue to improve. If you ask me, perhaps AFC Cup is the ultimate target as I feel that our team has the quality & capability to do well in Asian level.
JPF: In year 2011, both Lam Ka Wai and you were stripped of captaincy by the Club as a form of punishment for participating in an amateur futsal tournament which resulted Ka Wai suffered from a mini fracture, hence sitting out an International match for Hong Kong. Able to share with us more on that?
LKY: Both of us have always enjoyed small-sided game since young. So that time, a friend of us approached us to join them for the futsal tournament, both of us agreed. Unfortunately, Ka Wai injured himself because of that. Eventually, Club got to know about that and we were punished. Thereafter, both of us worked very hard and finally we got back our Captaincy roles again.
JPF: Hong Kong did extremely well against China in the recent World Cup Qualifying matches. Able to share with us what was the strategy deployed by Hong Kong?
LKY: Actually we did not deploy any special strategy, it’s really just pure teamwork. It was obvious China was a much stronger team than us but that did not prevent us from wanted to get a good result from China’s games. From the bench to the First Eleven, every player showed great spirit and the team’s morale was high. We just wanted to go all out to win the games for the supporters!
JPF: You have played against S.League teams as well as Singapore National Team on numerous occassions, in your opinion what do you think of Singapore football?
LKY: The level of Singapore football standard is almost identical to Hong Kong football to be honest. Singapore players are also quite experienced and skilful. (JPF: Which Singapore player gives you the strongest impression?) Yes, that forty-over years old forward (Aleksandar Duric)! The way he moves with the ball, his attitude and etc, he is just very special. Basically, he just stand out from the rest of the players.
JPF: How about Balestier Khalsa FC? You have played against them a couple of times in AFC Cup and you are meeting them again this year.
LKY: Surprisingly, I realized that they (Balestier) play a very fast game of football as compared to Kitchee. In terms of playing level, both of our teams are not that far apart. Just a matter of which team can play to its full potential on the match day. (JPF: Any message for Balestier Khalsa since Kitchee is playing them again this year in the AFC Cup?) Be wary of Kitchee!! Haha!
JPF: You have represented Hong Kong and Kitchee for so many years, which are your most memorable games?
LKY: Having represented the country since 2007, the most memorable games have to be the most recent China games in the World Cup Qualifying rounds. Although the opponent was tough, the support we received from all the Clubs, the fans and everyone in Hong Kong were amazing. I really enjoyed the support and the games in which eventually we achieved good results. Well for Kitchee, it has to be our first league title in 47 years in year 2010-2011. It’s an unforgettable moment for not just me but everyone in the team.
JPF: In your opinion what is the thing which is holding Hong Kong football back, thus preventing Hong Kong from becoming one of the powerhouses in Asia?
LKY: Football facility – Match venue (Stadium). A good match venue can enhance the players’ play and ultimately raising the standard of play. We have a good training ground (artificial pitch) here at Jockey Club Kitchee Training Centre but as far as match venue is concerned, I think we might still need more bigger natural grass pitch for games considering Hong Kong has only got 1-2 such Stadiums for major games.
JPF: As a defender, you do not really have a huge physique but you are playing extremely well in your position for both the Club and Country. Able to share with us how you compensate the lack of physique in this modern days of football?
LKY: I do not engage in any specific training but I try to improve the reading of my game. I observe the surrounding, the movement of my opponent, for example before they could reach a certain position to receive his ball, I will be there to cut off his supply first. (JPF: Diet?) I do not follow any strict dietary routine and especially with my child now, you have to eat almost everything! Haha!
JPF: You used to hold the record of being the youngest ever player at the age of just 15yrs old to play in the First Division in Hong Kong, able to share with us how you coped with the pressure then?
LKY: At that age, I remember I constantly had to fight for playing time as there were too many seniors and good players in the team. Scoldings from the seniors were common but then I told myself, I would have to get past that phase if I were to improve and develop as a footballer. So I underwent lots of additional training. I’m glad that I did well then.
JPF: You have achieved a lot in your career, is there any other thing which is still left undone for you at this level?
LKY: AFC Cup. I always feel that our team has the capability to lift this Cup. Although we have new players joining every year, it will take times to get everyone to gel together, I am still confident that our team can achieve more than what we have now. And especially now that we have accumulated experiences from the past editions, our future is extremely bright and positive.
LKY: Ka Wai is actually quite an unique and rare footballer in Hong Kong. To me, he is a completed player with a very good left leg. His ability to pass under tight situation is also something you seldom get to see in Hong Kong. And I think he’s the best midfielder in the country in that aspect.
JPF: Any advice for the young footballers who aspire to be a professional footballer like you?
LKY: Most importantly, do not give up easily. If you have identified football as your dream, train hard. There is no room for one who gives up easily so if you want to be a good footballer, you have to work hard! Remember, there is no shortcut to success!