Kitchee will play in the AFC Champions League again in the coming season, and will bring in many reinforcements this summer. The addition of Ogenyi Onazi, a former Nigerian international who played for Lazio, has intensified the competition for the defensive midfield position. In order to seek more stable playing opportunities, Ngan Cheuk Pan (Ban Jai), a member of the “98 Golden Generation” who got many opportunities to serve as the main selection in the middle of last season, will be loaned to Sham Shui Po in the coming season.
Ngan was born in the Barcelona Football School, the predecessor of Kitchee Youth Training. At the age of 13, he was selected by Mr Kim to join the Hong Kong U13 representative team. After three years of training, he historically ranked best in the qualifiers of the Asian Youth Cup in 2013 and advanced to the finals. Unfortunately, the Hong Kong team lost all three games against Japan, Australia, and China in the final week. The Japanese team defeated Hong Kong 2:0 in the first game. One of the goal scorers was Doan Ritsu, who shined in the past World Cup and is currently playing for fifth-placed Freiburg in the Bundesliga. Tomiyasu Takehiro and Tanaka Ao were also on the team. He has also become a world-famous football star.
After seeing the real level outside, Ngan was promoted to the first team training at the age of 17, and in the next two years he got the chance to play in the Spaling Cup, AFC Cup and other competitions. After graduating, he chose to study in the United States. In addition to playing for the school team, Kitchee also allowed him to go to Shek Mun to practice and do physical fitness during the holidays. He also played for Jiezhi in the AFC Champions League. Completely return to the local arena.
In the past four years, Kitchee has played in the AFC Champions League many times; world-class stars such as Diego Forlán and Moussa Sissoko have also played for Kitchee. Missing these days, Ngan also felt regretful: “When I returned to Hong Kong to do physical fitness during the vacation, I saw Forlán doing physical fitness in the same gym. Even these world-class stars were training hard, and I dare not neglect. Players such as Cheng Chin Lung and Law Tsz Chun started to have more opportunities, and besides being happy for them, they all wondered if they hadn’t left, would they have been a part of cheering in the AFC Champions League?”
But things are strange. An epidemic of COVID has completely suspended local competitions, but the university competitions that Ngan participated in in the United States are hardly affected. There are at least 20-30 official competitions each year, and he can maintain his status during the epidemic: “If you stay in Hong Kong, you will be able to The training intensity in the United States must not be as good as that of Kitchee, but the game has never been stopped, and the level of competition is not bad. Many players come from the youth teams of European football powerhouses, and some even have the level of MLS.”
After graduating, I tried to leave work in the United States, but due to the status of foreign aid and most clubs only willing to sign short-term contracts, Ngan finally chose to return to Hong Kong: “At that time, I was worried that Kitchee would not want me, and Alex Chu promised me that I would You can practice, but you have to fight for the contract during training, because there are still many people waiting for this opportunity.”
In the end, Ngan signed a professional contract with Jiezhi again, and the opportunities were more than before. He had secured the team’s main draft seat for three consecutive months, and also played in the Senior Shied finals on his 25th birthday and won the championship. These performances also led to him being called up by Hong Kong team coach Jørn Andersen, and he made his Hong Kong team debut at the Mong Kok Stadium in March.
The Hong Kong team coached by Jørn Andersen is very proactive and requires more physical fitness and tackles in the defensive midfielder. Ngan agrees that this is the way out for the Hong Kong team: “You will lose if you retreat, it is better to go up and grab it. In the past, Mr Kim When leading the youth team, it was already good to encourage the players to push forward and lay the foundation for today’s style of play. Kitchee’s usual training intensity is also high, so Kitchee players will adapt quickly when they go to the Hong Kong team. In addition, the Hong Kong team is now relatively young on average, and the players If you have the strength, go grab it.”
“After being selected, you have to practice every day. The coach will constantly remind you to grab, and repeatedly implant the awareness of pressing in your mind. Usually, the local football team plays conservatively. After the wave is intercepted, you have to go back and do the wave, or even delay the handoff. Return to the backbone to reorganize. However, whether it is the Hong Kong team or in Jiezhi, the coach encourages the attack as soon as possible as soon as possible. The closer to the opponent’s goal, the better. Hand it over.”
“I have been with other players, and the high-intensity pressing order has made me very easy to scatter. But think about it a little deeper, instead of waiting for the opponent to catch the wave and chase first, turn around and run behind the opponent. You may run 30 to 40 yards , but if you are willing to rush forward, you may only need to run four or five steps. Generally speaking, it may be easier to conserve energy. This requires the cooperation of the front, middle and rear lines, and someone must stop behind and force. Both Law and Tsz Chun are much more aggressive, and will become more accustomed to grabbing when practicing waves. When we grab foreign players, they think we are in good condition.”
Kitchee added troops this season, and Ngan’s chances to play began to be challenged: “There are more and more people competing for the midfield position. Even if the new foreign aid is not counted, there are already three defenders in the team, Huang Yang, Charlie Scott, and Tan Chun Lok. Frankly speaking, even if I am a coach, I don’t necessarily want to put myself out of the game. So I asked for a loan in June, and Ken Ng said that I have proved my ability last year, but he also wants me to play where I have a long-term chance to play. Everyone’s stance is also very consistent. I think the football team has its own interests in mind, and I also want to go out and practice and try to carry the banner.”
Missed a lot of competitions in the past four years, especially this year is the last one before the restructuring of the AFC Champions League: “Of course I really want to play, but can I really play if I stay in Kitchee? I can play on loan, at least let Jørn Andersen See myself. And Ken Ng said that as long as the Hong Kong team and other Hong Kong clubs play well in the Asian Games and score points, they will have a chance to return to the AFC Champions League.”
In the end, Kitchee loaned Ngan to Sham Shui Po. This downstream team, which received a lot of criticism last season, introduced many players and signed several new foreign aids this season. They almost played with a new team: “I was a little worried before I went, the new coach They have never worked together before, and 90% of their teammates don’t know each other. But it feels good after being hired. Mr Tang himself has experience in teaching the Hong Kong Super League, and Mr Chan has also played professionally for many years. They feel like they hit it off, and their goals are very clear. “
“In fact, the professional skills of playing are not too bad, but sometimes the details are not done well enough to cause a gap. For example, when Jie Zhi practiced the wave, he would definitely go up and down, and someone from the third line would stop and rush up together; Sham Shui Po player awareness In the game, I was more afraid of losing the ball. When the center forward went up, the midfielder and defender did not cooperate together. It will take time to improve, but I have great confidence in the team, and I really want to start the season soon!”
There is another thing that Ngan needs to get used to slowly. In the past, there was a private field for practicing in Jiezhi, and the administrators such as Po Kee would help with the head and tail. Now he has to practice in the public Shek Kip Mei Park, take care of his own luggage, Washing boots and collecting shirts: “Maybe I have been taken good care of in Kitchee for a long time and spoiled, but it doesn’t matter. These are the responsibilities of the players themselves. On the contrary, I have never tried to practice for a long time and was sprinkled by the staff. By clearing the field, how can the players have a chance to practice more? But this is also very characteristic of Hong Kong football.”
|姓名||顏卓彬 Ngan Cheuk Pan|
➜Shum Shui Po（2023-）