Kitchee are looking to win a domestic treble. (Photo by Christopher KL Lau)
As the Hong Kong football season draws to an end, two of the biggest local clubs, Kitchee and South China, will battle it out at Mong Kok Stadium this coming Sunday, 14 May, for the FA Cup. The game will be a high stake one as league champions Kitchee are on course for a domestic treble whilst traditional giants, South China, will be looking to salvage a very disappointing season and build for next year.
Kitchee have been on an excellent run of form of late. They have built great momentum and swept opponents aside, even their recent league game against South China was a comfortable 3-0 win. Though cup games are always less predictable and with South China’s form improving of late, an upset could be well on the cards.
Kitchee secured their place in the final after a narrow 2-1 win over Southern with goals from Jared Lum and Tong Kin-man, whilst South China upset former champions Eastern with a match-winning goal from Japanese aid Yusuke Kato. As Kitchee have secured continental football via their league win, adding another trophy in the form of the FA Cup would ensure their dominance this season.
Nikola Komazec believes a win in the FA Cup final will help build confidence for the coming season. (Photo by Christopher KL Lau)
Nikola Komazec, the prolific South China striker, feels that a win for South China in the FA Cup final could still build momentum for the next season:
“Yes, this is my first year in Hong Kong and for many people associated with South China, we cannot accept this. This is disappointing as we are without a trophy, but we have two more chances via the FA Cup and the playoffs. I am sure we can change everything with this FA Cup game, which is the match of the season for us. Kitchee already have two trophies and this shows that they are the best team. But South China can change everything. We try to improve the mindset of the club and fans, as some are not too happy.”
Komazec also went on to discuss Kitchee’s great season so far and who would be the opponents to look out for during the game.
“Me and my team mates respect Kitchee. This is a good challenge for us and there are not too many games where South China are not favourites. They have many good players in all positions like Fernando, Matthew Lam, Sandro and Rufino. It will not be easy for us.”
Matthew Lam of league champions Kitchee stressed that even though Kitchee had to chase Eastern for most of the season, he was confident that they would win the league title which in turn set up the FA Cup final perfectly.
Matthew Lam celebrates Kitchee's Hong Kong Premier League title win over Eastern. (Photo by Christopher KL Lau)
“We always felt that we were the stronger side. It was a difficult season to constantly be in the chase, but I think that we always knew we would have our chance. It is pretty unique to play against the team you are competing with for the title on the final day of the season and then to win that match was an amazing thing. This title is one I will remember forever.”
Lam also acknowledged that the chance for Kitchee to win another historical treble was more than enough motivation for both himself and his team mates.
“While winning the title this past weekend was of course huge, I think we all recognise that winning the treble is something rare and not many players get the opportunity to do it. We are all very excited about it and are definitely planning on carrying the momentum and confidence into the FA Cup final this weekend.”
Two clubs who are looking for a crucial cup win but with different motivations. It should make for a fascinating final.