Cagliari Calcio

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.


Recently crowned Hong Kong Premier League champions Eastern have reclaimed their place among Hong Kong’s elite in recent years and are currently enjoying their best period since the mid-90s under the guidance of female coach Chan Yuen Ting.

After winning the Hong Kong FA Cup in 2014, the club went on to claim the runners-up spot in the Hong Kong Premier League the following year and continued their upward surge in 2016 by claiming the title.

Chan, 27, has gained all the plaudits as she inspired her side during the recent campaign to see off the challenge of Kitchee and South China in the Hong Kong Premier League after the heavyweights had claimed nine successive titles between them after Eastern were only promoted to the Hong Kong Premier League in 2013.

Eastern’s strongest period came in the mid-90s when they won three successive top-flight titles between 1993 and 1995.

Yau Yee League Masters

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.

Kowloon Cricket Club Veterans

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.

HKFC Masters

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.

Stoke City

Back for a second successive year after making their debut in 2015, Stoke City will be looking to build on a performance that saw them eliminated in the group stage last year.

The Potters lost their inaugural HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens match 2-0 to Hong Kong’s Yau Yee League Select before going on to claim a 3-0 win over the Hong Kong Football Association U-20 side.

But a 2-2 draw with eventual champions Atletico Madrid was not enough to advance to the quarter-finals before Stoke then lost 2-0 to Hong Kong Football Club Captain’s Select in the quarter-finals of the Plate competition.

Stoke have transformed their reputation in recent times after becoming synonymous with the long-ball game during the Tony Pulis days following promotion to the English Premier League in 2008.

And since Mark Hughes took over in 2013, the style of play at the Britannia Stadium has changed dramatically with talented stars including Bojan Krkic, Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri now components of a new-look, free-flowing side.

With more than 300 appearances spanning two spells at the club, Sir Stanley Matthews is Stoke’s most famous son, while goalkeeper Ben Foster and Glasgow Celtic’s Kris Commons have come through the academy more recently.


  • 2015

    Group D (3rd)

    Lost to Yau Yee League Select 2-0

    Beat HKFA U-20 3-0

    Drew with Atletico Madrid 2-2

    Plate quarter-finals: Lost to HKFC Captain’s Select 2-0

Singapore Cricket Club

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 SFL team competes in the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) Singapore Football League One (SFL 1). In 2022, the Club picked up several accolades at the 2022 FAS Sports Awards Night, including the FAS Recognition Award, Top Goal Scorer Award and Fair Play Award. The former Head Coach and current Club Captain were also one of three nominees for the FAS SFL Coach of the Year and Player of the Year awards respectively. In 2023, SCC SFL team kicked off its pre-season campaign by finishing runners-up at the annual Royal Bangkok Sports Club (RBSC) Soccer Sevens and is currently in the midst of its 2023 SFL season. The SCC SFL team, led by Head Coach and former Singapore international Steven Tan, is expected to challenge for honours domestically. The team comprised some of the brightest young talents as well as former professionals.

Shanghai SIPG

Group: B

Seeded: 9-12

Founded: 2005

Home: Shanghai Stadium, Shanghai, China


Shanghai SIPG – whose first team are managed by former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson – are the latest Chinese Super League side to compete in the Soccer Sevens, following Guangzhou Evergrande’s debut in 2014.

Lu Jianjun will coach the side at Hong Kong Football Club, where the visitors will field a team of seven-a-side specialists of players in their 20s and 30s.

Shanghai SIPG’s first team, under Eriksson’s charge, started the 2015 Chinese Super League with four wins and two draws, underlining their reputation as one of the country’s fastest-growing clubs.

Xu Genbao, the former China international and head coach, founded the club in 2005 as an extension of the Genbao Football Base he created in 2000. Xu was inspired by Manchester United’s crop of youth graduates and ‘To Build a Manchester United of China’ was carved in rock at the front gate of the youth facility, which features three full-size pitches.

Featuring several players who had come through Genbao Football Base, Shanghai East Asia enjoyed a spectacular rise to the top tier of Chinese football, winning China League Two in 2007 and China League One in 2012. In 2009, the team moved into their current home ground, the 56,000-capacity Shanghai Stadium.

Before the 2013 season, SIPG (Shanghai International Port Group) signed on as title sponsor of the club. The newly named Shanghai SIPG finished ninth in the 2013 Chinese Super League and fifth the following year, and their investment in hiring Eriksson in November 2014 was another sign that the club is likely to be among China’s biggest clubs for years to come.


  • Lu Jianjun - Head Coach
  • 1. Zhang Chen (age 33) - Goalkeeper
  • 4. Jiang Weiliang (age 26) - Midfielder
  • 7. Wang Hongliang (age 30) - Midfielder
  • 8. Lin Tao (age 24) - Defender
  • 10. Feng Jing (age 34) - Midfielder
  • 11. Xu Bin (age 25) - Forward
  • 15. Li Cheng (c) (age 26) - Defender
  • 25. Shen Longyuan (age 30) - Forward
  • 26. Cao Jiadi (age 24) - Defender
  • 29. Lin Pei (age 23) - Forward


  • 2015

    Group B (3rd)

    Drew with Kitchee 1-1

    Drew with West Ham United 0-0

    Drew with HKFC Captain’s Select 1-1

    Plate quarter-finals: Beat HKFA U-20 2-0

    Plate semi-finals: Lost to Leicester City 1-0

Leicester City

Leicester City’s youngsters are participating in HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens once more, returning to Happy Valley to represent the Club for the intense three-day, seven-a-side competition.

Leicester have been regular participants in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay district for a contest which provides Academy graduates with an opportunity to test their skills on a big stage. 

Over previous seasons, the Club’s brightest talents have flown out to Asia to experience a unique and challenging environment which further aids their development.

Some of the Club’s current first team stars have previously featured in the competition over the years, such as Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Luke Thomas and Daniel Iversen, as well as loanees Hamza Choudhury and Marc Albrighton – who famously helped the Club win the English Premier League for the first time in 2016. 

The tournament, which began in 1999, took an unscheduled three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is back this year with the Foxes looking to regain the youth trophy they have lifted on two occasions.

Since debuting at the event back in 2012, members of the Club’s Development Squad have enjoyed magnificent success in Hong Kong, notably winning the Main Cup crown twice. 

Firstly claiming the Shield following a 3-2 victory over Chelsea in the 2012 final, during their maiden tournament, the Foxes returned a year later to lift the Cup with a 2-0 win against holders Newcastle United.

Successive Plate finals followed, with victory in 2014 over BC Rangers and defeat on penalties the year after to Hong Kong Football Club. 

In 2016, meanwhile, Leicester advanced to the quarter-finals before going down 2-1 to New Zealand’s Wellington Phoenix, only to reach a fifth straight final after defeating Kashima Antlers 6-5 in the Shield Semi-Final. 

A 3-2 victory over Hong Kong Eastern in the final meant Leicester lifted four trophies in five HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens tournaments and an impressive showing in 2017 extended that record further. 

Claiming the Main Cup title for the second time, defeating Aston Villa 3-0 in the final, City’s side will again come up against an illustrious list of youngsters from across the globe, with fellow Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion and reigning Soccer Sevens champions Newcastle also competing this time around.

In total, 16 teams will take part in the main tournament at Sports Road, including Hong Kong Premier League sides Kitchee and HKU23.


Kitchee Sports Club was established in 1931 and has been competing in the top professional league in Hong Kong since 2003. The club has enjoyed a successful trophy-laden spell following their return to the top division, having won 12 championships, including 6 Hong Kong First Division titles and 6 Hong Kong Premier League titles, along with 8 Hong Kong Senior Shields and 7 x FA Cups, making them one of the most distinguished football clubs in Hong Kong’s footballing history. 

Kitchee have also been regularly competing in Asian continental competitions, and the qualifying for the East Region Knockout Stage for the first time in the AFC Champions League last August was the first Hong Kong club in history to advance to the Round of 16. Their domestic dominance has also been impressive as the recent FA Cup triumph has taken Kitchee to become domestic treble winners for the 5th time.

Aston Villa

Aston Villa are very proud of their record of having won the tournament six times and been in the final on other several other occasions. The last time we
won the tournament back in 2016 we had the likes of Rushian Hepburn- Murphy and Harry McKirdy in the squad and then in 2017 we missed out in the final to a strong Leicester City team. Players such as Jack Grealish, Gabby Agbonlahor, Gary Cahill and Marc Albrighton have all been to Hong Kong with Aston Villa as part of their learning and education from a football perspective and also because of the cultural experiences that are available away from the tournament. Having missed the tournament because of Covid-19, the staff and players are rightly excited at being involved in the 7s this season and we see this tournament as an important part of our young players journey to a professional career.

This year’s group of players will be relatively young, but most have already had some experience of international football. The unique experience the 7s provides from a technical, tactical, and physical viewpoint will be another important part of their development. Most of the group at the tournament will have trained and had some involvement with the 1 st team this season since Unai Emery has taken over as Head Coach so this is another way of building on those experiences.