Hong Kong women’s team coach Chan Shuk-chi hailed his team’s performance in the EAFF Championship second round as a great learning experience after they beat minnows Guam 1-0 in their final match at Football Club on Monday.
Markswoman Cheung Wai-ki scored the only goal in the first half – Hong Kong’s first goal in the four-team tournament – although the hosts could have won by a bigger margin after hitting the goalpost a couple of times.
Coach Chan said the results, which included a 14-0 and 5-0 defeats by South Korea and Taiwan respectively, had little bearing as their target was to gain international exposure.
“We are building the team for next year’s Asian Cup qualification, which is our major target in the near future,” said Chan. “It is pivotal for our girls to gain experience in the Hong Kong tournament and in fact all our 20 squad members have been given some minutes with some of them making their international debuts.
“We still face a massive gap to close against top teams in the region but we are probably in the middle, level with teams like Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Taiwan. The week-long tournament should have provided us a great learning opportunity so that we can be better equipped in the Asian Cup qualifiers.”
Chan admitted the humiliating 14-0 defeat by South Korea was unexpected, failing to realise the harsh truths about international women’s football.
The players will return to domestic club competitions after the tournament but the coach hoped they could maintain at least one practice session a week before regrouping for an overseas training camp early next year and an international friendly against Singapore before the start of the Asian Cup qualifiers in April.
South Korea, meanwhile, proved they are in a class of their own as they thrashed Taiwan 9-0 in their last match to advance to the final next year in Japan, where they will face North Korea and China.
The Koreans netted 36 times in three matches in Hong Kong and their diminutive midfielder, Lee Min-a, was named tournament MVP.