History-making Hong Kong coach Chan Yuen-ting was given further recognition last night when she was named the AFC Women’s Coach of the Year at the Asian Football Confederation’s annual awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi after becoming the first female coach to steer a professional football team to a league title last season.
Unassuming Chan shot to fame earlier this year when she gained a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for her exploits with Eastern last term when she guided the club to the Hong Kong Premier League title and the Senior Challenge Shield.
“This award is a surprise because I never thought the day would come when I’d be here,” Chan said after receiving her gong.
“The other nominees were also very good and outstanding in women’s coaching. When I received the letter inviting me to the event gala, I didn’t think that I’d win.
“I want to dedicate this trophy to my football club. It feels amazing for a female coach to be working in a men’s team, so I want to thank Eastern Football Club for giving me this chance and trust, and also to the staff and players.”
Chan already picked up the Hong Kong Football Association’s Coach of the Year award. She was also named in the BBC’s influential 100 Women of 2016 list.
Chan, who started out her football management career as a data analyst with Pegasus FC, is reported to have turned down a chance to coach in Europe in order to stay with Eastern for the 2017 campaign.