This year, many foreign players will reach the qualifications of having lived in Hong Kong for seven years, obtain Hong Kong permanent resident status, and be eligible to receive SAR passports. KC Southern striker Stefan Pereira from Brazil is applying for relevant documents at the immigration department, and the result is expected to be available within one to two months at the earliest.
“I have been waiting for this moment. Being able to come to this place in Hong Kong is God’s arrangement, and it is also the best arrangement.”
Set sail in the fog
Stefan Pereira was born in Brumado, Bahia, Brazil. Like many Brazilian children, he was sent to football school by his father when he was 5 years old. At the age of 10, he began to train in Salvador, the capital of Bahia, and Vitória, the Brazilian second team, and played in the youth army. He scored more than 300 goals in the game. After his official debut, he played for many state leagues and national league clubs. In 2013, he was loaned out to the Romanian team Rapid Bucharest for one season by the Badin club Jacuipense.
“My mentality at the time was that I wanted to use Eastern Europe as a springboard to play for other bigger clubs, so I really wanted to leave Brazil.” After returning home, Stefan received an offer from Japan, but the player was unwilling to let him transfer. Stefan There were differences with the club, and they even had conflicts with the team: “I was very determined to leave Brazil. It happened that I met Citizen coach Jorginho at this time. After learning about this, he asked the team to loan me out.” So that year, The 25-year-old Stefan followed Jorginho to Hong Kong to join Citizen.
“It’s very different from Japan. You know there are many Japanese working in Brazil, but I know nothing about Hong Kong. I only have the impression of a bustling metropolis with Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. I don’t even know that there is professional football in Hong Kong. I came to Hong Kong to participate in Citizen During the pre-season training camp, my first impression was that Hong Kong was extremely hot and my feet hurt. The team provided me with accommodations. They said it was a “House” at first, but when I arrived, I saw that it was just a “Room”. But I’m fine, I got used to it pretty quickly.”
In his first game with Citizen, he scored against Yokohama FC at Tsing Yi Stadium. In his first season in Hong Kong, he played 21 games and scored 7 goals. After the loan period, Jacuipense took Stefan back again, and he then joined the famous club in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, in early 2015. Will FK Olimpik, won the Bosnian Cup for the team that season, and even got the opportunity to play in the Europa League qualifiers. In the first half of the 2015-16 season, he played in most competitions, but in the second half of the season, he suddenly returned to Hong Kong to join Yuen Long.
“It was a good, big team, and the team also wanted to renew the contract. But one day my wife saw us returning to Hong Kong in a dream, and then when I prayed to God, He also said what was in my heart. About a week later, I received a call from Fabio inviting me to join Yuen Long. I thought all this was God’s will, so I immediately agreed. I still remember returning to Hong Kong on Christmas Eve.”
He was outstanding while playing in Yuen Long, but because the team already had many foreign players, his contract was not renewed after the season. Later, I learned that Fabio would have the opportunity to hire him again after he became a local player after living there for seven years, so he decided to stay with Cao and signed a contract with Yuen Long again in September. In 2017, he switched to Lee Man to help the team win the championship. The first ever champion Sapling Cup.
However, Lee Man did not renew his contract after this season. During the off-season, he returned to Brazil, discussed with his wife, and decided to buy another one-way ticket to Hong Kong, hoping to try his luck again: “At that time, I was temporarily staying at Fernando’s house, and then went around to ask if there was any team to take in. Since it was already very late, many teams had already completed their formation. I tried to go to Tai Po to play a friendly match with Cao He, but the room for performance in that game was very small, and I couldn’t ask the coach. What to show If there is no team signing and no income, I have no choice but to return to Brazil. When I prayed to God, He told me to calm down and that there is always a plan to stay.”
“On the same day, Fernando helped me contact Philip Lee, but Rangers’ foreign player quota was also full at the time. In the end, he decided to give me a contract first and then loaned me to the first-division team Citizen. At the same time, he welcomed me to train at Rangers. On hold.”
“As a foreign player, playing in the second-tier league may be a bad thing for many people, but I don’t think it is a low point. My mentality is that all this is to prepare for returning to the Super League in the future, so I also have to work hard to score goals. God may want me to take a step back before moving forward.”
Later, Rangers officially took back Stefan. Unexpectedly, an epidemic hit and the league was suspended, and he was forced to return to Brazil: “I still remember that when I returned to Brazil in April, I was very confused because I had no team contract and no income. And the work visa in Hong Kong expires at the end of May. If I can’t find a team before then, I may not have the opportunity to come to Hong Kong in the future.”
“When I got up one day, my wife and I prayed for God to give me guidance. Then, when my son got up, the first thing he said to me was: ‘Dad, why don’t we go back to Hong Kong!’ After one or two When I was young, I received a call from Calvin Pui, inviting me to join the Southern District!”
By joining the Southern District this time, he no longer has to worry about losing his job every year, and he has been playing for the team to this day. The masterpiece is, of course, the two goals scored in the Sapling Cup final last season, winning the team’s first championship in team history. “I am very happy to win a championship for Calvin Pui. He was my coach when I first came to Hong Kong to join the Citizen. When I had no team, I borrowed him to play for the Citizen. Now that he has arranged for me to stay with my family in Hong Kong, he always helps me a lot. There is also Mr. Wong, the main boss of the KC South District. The day before the game, he told us, “No matter whether we win or lose, just enjoy the game.” He has supported the team for eight years without caring about results. And to be able to win the championship for him this time is very encouraging.”
“I have sometimes discussed with other Brazilian players that in Brazil or other countries, they have to stay overnight for every game, and travel is very difficult. They may only see their families two or three times a week. In Eastern Europe and Brazil, the fans are very crazy. If you don’t perform well, you may be attacked and intimidated. The fans in Hong Kong are very good, and we have met many good people, so everyone will want to stay.”
You once had the opportunity to play in Europe. Do you ever regret choosing Hong Kong for development? “When I was young, I might have wanted to play in a big club and become famous, but now I understand that all these experiences have been prepared by God for me. Now I am only three goals away from becoming the top scorer in the history of the Southern District. I want to continue to stay. In Hong Kong, I will achieve more glory for the team, and I also hope to be selected for the Hong Kong team and bring more happiness to the fans and family.”
|姓名||史提芬彭利拿 Stefan Figueiredo Pereira|