Hong Kong, China U22 Representative Team is made up with promising young talent in Hong Kong football. Talented, motivated and hungry to showcase their skills in front of local and overseas football fans, Hong Kong, China U22 Representative Team is ready to go all out in this year’s HKFC Citibank Soccer 7s tournament, hoping to test themselves against the world’s finest emerging football talents, as well as to delight the crowd on hand.
One of the powerhouses of French football, Marseille are the first side from France to compete at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens.
The club from the Cote d’Azur boast a proud history, having won the first ever UEFA Champions League in 1993 when they beat AC Milan 1-0 in the final with a line-up that included the likes of World Cup winners Didier Deschamps, Marcel Desailly and Rudi Voller and they remain the only French side to have been crowned European champions.
Domestically, the late 80s and early 90s marked Marseille’s most successful period when the team claimed four straight league championships between 1989 and 1992, while they also have won a record 10 French Cups.
More recently, the club last won the French league in 2010, when they also picked up the first of three successive League Cups.
With both Paris St. Germain and Monaco having enjoyed huge cash injections in recent years in buyouts that have elevated the status of France’s domestic league, the southern France side have found competition tougher of late.
But with an experienced squad that includes former Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra, ex-Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby and one of the stars of Euro 2016, recent acquisition Dimitri Payet, Marseille could be ready to challenge for major honours once again.
Former Italian champions Cagliari Calcio became the first team from Italy to participate at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens when the Serie A club took to the pitch at Hong Kong Football Club last year.
Cagliari, who are based on the island of Sardinia, reached the final of the Shield in their debut in the competition, only to lose 2-0 to West Ham United.
The club made their return to Serie A last season and finished in 11th place in Italy’s top flight. The club’s finest hour came in 1970 when, having finished as runners-up a year earlier, Cagliari won Serie A for the first and only time. That team was captained by Italy’s all-time leading scorer Gigi Riva, who, after making more than 300 appearances and scoring over 160 goals for Cagliari, boasts such an iconic status on Sardinia that his number 11 jersey has been retired.
Other notable players to have appeared for Cagliari include former Chelsea playmaker Gianfranco Zola and ex-Uruguay internationals Enzo Francescoli and Daniel Fonseca. Midfielder Nicolo Barella is a product of the Cagliari academy and has represented Italy at various levels while Han Kwang Song made his first appearance for the club in the league last year to become the first player from North Korea to play in Serie A.
The first German side to compete at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens, Bayer Leverkusen have been one of Germany’s best performing teams over the past two decades, having finished as runners-up in the Bundesliga five times between 1997 and 2011.
Having gained a reputation as the nearly men of German football, Leverkusen also finished as runners-up to Real Madrid in the 2002 UEFA Champions League final with a line-up that included Michael Ballack and Brazilian World Cup winner Lucio.
Indeed, the 2001-02 season featured arguably Leverkusen’s strongest team ever, yet ended in disappointed as the side also finished second in both the league and cup.
The side from Germany’s Rhine region have, however, enjoyed previous success, winning the UEFA Cup in 1988 and the German Cup in 1993, while they again reached the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League in 2017.
Among the other notable players who have turned out for the club are former Manchester United forward Dimitar Berbatov, ex-Liverpool defender Sami Hyppia, former Brazilian international Ze Roberto and current Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal.
The current crop of players includes Benjamin Henrichs, Kevin Kampl and Danny da Costa – all of whom have come through the youth ranks – as well as Germany international Lars Bender and Mexican striker Javier Hernandez.
For the second successive year, HKFA U-23 will be the Hong Kong Football Association’s sole representative at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens.
The national age-group side made their debut at the annual seven-a-side competition in 2012 before reaching the Plate semi-final a year later and the Cup quarter-final in 2014.
After the U-20 and U-18 sides represented the governing body in 2015, the U-23 team returned last year and put on a superb display.
Following draws in all three of their group matches – with Leicester City, West Ham United and Singapore Cricket Club – HKFA U-21 went on to defeat Yau Yee League Select 1-0 in the last eight of the Plate and then Kitchee by the same scoreline in the semi-finals.
And despite a 2-0 reversal to Stoke City in the final, the tournament can be considered HKFA U-23’s best yet having played out two wins, three draws and just a solitary defeat in six games at Hong Kong Football Club.
In 2014, the team impressed by beating defending champions Leicester 1-0 on route to qualifying for the Cup quarter-final for the first and, to date, only time, before a 2-1 loss after extra time to fellow Hong Kong side Kitchee.
Other highlights at the tournament include their first ever win – as the Hong Kong Dragons – when they defeated hosts Hong Kong Football Club in the 2013 group stage.
And after last year’s strong showing, HKFA U-23 will return to Happy Valley confident of enhancing their reputation at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens.
Yau Yee League Masters return for a second straight year after a run that took them to the Cup semi-finals last time around. A second-place finish in their group behind Wallsend Boys Club, following wins over playonPROS and HKFC Chairman’s select and a draw with KCC Veterans, took the Yau Yee League Masters into the semi-finals, where they were eliminated by eventual champions Citi All Stars.
The run to the last four followed on from their success in the final of the Plate competition 12 months earlier, when they defeated KCC Veterans after another strong campaign, which saw them hand Citi All Stars their only defeat of the competition when the teams met in the group phase.
A third place finish in the group set up the meeting with KCC Veterans in the Plate final and, after a goalless encounter, Yau Yee League Masters won the competition in a penalty shootout. The Yau Yee League is Hong Kong’s top amateur league and their representative team in the Masters tournament features many of the best senior players from the competition.
Before last year, previous best performances had come in 2009 and 2010, when Yau Yee League Masters reached back-to-back plate finals.
Rangers are Scotland’s most successful football club with the origins dating back to 1872 when the club was formed on the banks of the River Clyde at Glasgow Green. Being the most successful club in Scotland, the team is under pressure to win every game, whether that be home or away, to ensure the club remains the dominant force in Scottish Football.
Rangers have won more league titles and trebles than any other club in the world, winning the league title 55 times, the Scottish Cup 34 times and the Scottish League Cup 27 times. In European football, Rangers were the first British Club to reach a UEFA tournament final in the inaugural European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961. Rangers were runners-up again in the same competition in 1967 before going on to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972 defeating Dynamo Moscow. More recently, Rangers have been runners-up in the UEFA Cup in 2008, and last season witnessed an incredible cup run in the UEFA Europa League where Rangers were runners-up in the final to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Based at the Rangers Training Centre in Milngavie, Glasgow, the club prides itself on consistently producing players that have gone on to represent the Men’s 1st Team. Recent examples of this have been Nathan Patterson, Danny Wilson and Alan Hutton, to name a few. Whereas this season has seen 1st Team debuts for Adam Devine, Alex Lowry, Bailey Rice and Zak Lovelace.
Returning to the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens is Wallsend Boys Club, a club that boasts a proud history as one of the most renowned footballing institutions in England. The likes of Alan Shearer, Michael Carrick and Steve Bruce spent their early playing days at the North Tyneside club, while former Premier League stars Michael Bridges, Alan Thompson and Robbie Elliot have all represented their former team at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens.
One of the side’s most famed graduates, Peter Beardsley, who represented England at the 1990 World Cup and boasts legendary status at both Liverpool and Newcastle United, also turned out for Wallsend in 2014 and 2015. A quarter final appearance on their debut was followed by a runner-up finish a year later. In 2016, the team advanced to the semi-finals but were eliminated by USRC. They made further progress in 2017, this time winning their group before seeing off HKFC Masters in the semi-finals to set up a meeting with Citi All Stars in the final. But Wallsend’s wait for that title continued after an agonizing 3-2 defeat.
The hunt for that elusive trophy ended in 2019, with the Club managing to win the tournament for the first time. The 2023 tournament will see Wallsend doing their best to retain their title!
Local amateur side USRC have appeared in the last three finals at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens Masters event but, after defeating Wallsend Boys Club in the 2015 final, were unable to claim back-to-back titles as Citi All Stars ran out 3-1 victors in last year’s showpiece event.
Nonetheless, the Kowloon side put in another strong showing in 2016 when they topped Group A ahead of HKFC Chairman’s Select, KCC Veterans, Ajax All Stars and Discovery Bay. An impressive 2-1 victory over Ajax to seal top spot in the table and eliminate the Dutch team was among the highlights.
USRC then saw off tournament regulars Wallsend Boys Club 2-0 in the last four, but ultimately fell just short by suffering a 3-1 reversal to Citi All Stars in the final.
A year earlier, Brazilian duo Daniel Lins Cortes and Paulo Enrique each scored as USRC claimed the Masters title following a 2-1 final victory over a Wallsend side that featured former Leeds United striker Michael Bridges and ex-Newcastle United defender Robbie Elliott. They also reached the final in 2014, but lost out 1-0 to Ajax.
USRC won Hong Kong’s top amateur league, Division One of the Yau Yee League, in 2008, 2009 and 2014. They will return to the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens as one of the favourites to lift a second Masters crown.
Established 1852, the Singapore Cricket Club is one of the premier sports clubs in Singapore. SCC is represented by two teams in the HKFC Soccer Sevens 2023, SCC Singapore Football League (SFL) team for the main tournament and SCC Masters team in the masters tournament. SCC has been in this tournament for over 5 years.
The SCC Masters team, which competes in several domestic football leagues, comprised ex-professional footballers and players who were formerly from the SCC SFL team.
Tournament regulars KCC Veterans return to the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens once more, since the last edition of the competition in 2019. They have a long-established history in the event and this year have signed-up the Leicester City Premier League Winning Defender, Danny Simpson, who joins KCC for the 2023 edition. Danny follows a long list of former players including Chelsea, West Ham and England International Carton Cole, Liverpool and England International legend John Barnes, ex-Scotland International and Everton forward Pat Nevin and former Northern Ireland International and Wimbledon striker Lawrie Sanchez, all who have represented the Club. The KCC Veterans reached the final of the Plate competition in both 2015 and 2016, losing to HKFC Chairman’s Select and Discovery Bay in respective years. KCC have also previously won the second-tier competition in 2009, by defeating Yau Yee League Masters 2-0 in the final. Their best-ever performances were in 2008 and 2011 when they advanced beyond the group stage to make the Cup quarter-finals. This year the team will be coached by the Hong Kong National Team Asst. Coach, Wolfgang Lussier and KCC are excited to be involved again in Hong Kong’s best Football 7’s Tournament.
The HKFC Masters team is honoured to be one of the two teams representing the Hong Kong Football Club in the upcoming annual seven-a-side event. Following a four-year break, the team has been working tirelessly to prepare for the tournament and is excited to represent the club once again. Although the results didn’t go their way in 2019, the players are optimistic that this year’s competition will be both enjoyable and successful.
The HKFC Chairman’s Select team regularly participates in the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens tournament. After a disappointing performance in the 2019 event, the team is determined to bounce back and make a strong showing this year. With their sights set on being competitive, the Chairman’s Select team has been working hard to improve their game and is eager to take the field. Along with the other HKFC team, the Chairman’s Select team hopes to represent the club and play some high-quality football proudly.
The lads from Discovery Bay (DB) return to the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens for the tenth time and this year as Ampcontrol Discovery Bay, having secured a new main sponsor that specializes in high voltage electrical engineering services and following their notable performances in 2017 and 2019 (reaching the plate final) and especially in 2018 (cup winners) the team will be fully charged for an electrifying display in this year’s tournament.
Ampcontrol Discovery Bay consist of local amateur and professional players from Discovery Bay Football Club (DBFC) and the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) league teams, having separated from the previous years of partnership with the boys from Brazil, who this year field their own team in the tournament. Discovery Bay teams from the past have included some star attractions such as former England Internationals Peter Beardsley, Teddy Sheringham and Darren Anderton.
Ampcontrol Discovery Bay will be coached again by former Hong Kong star forward and Discovery Bay resident Tim Bredbury and big support will come from the teams main and secondary sponsors’ representatives, who are all Discovery Bay residents.
The PFA are delighted to be providing the Citibank Allstars for the Hong Kong Soccer 7s once again.
This partnership has been going for 21 years with many former Professional players from all divisions in the English leagues taking part.