縱然第五波疫情嚴峻，前路亦充滿未知數，惟傑志會長伍健堅信香港足球並不會停下腳步：「傑志相信積極應變才是新常態下穩步前行的最佳方法，貫徹球會『For the Good of Hong Kong』格言。」
Kitchee to Travel to Thailand for Training Camp before ACL Group Stage
Kitchee has announced that the First Team will travel to Thailand on 10th March to prepare for the AFC Champions League Group Stage starting in mid-April. The team will reside in a football training centre near Bangkok for 5 weeks, where the team will train and play 4-5 friendly matches behind closed doors. The team will then travel for the Group Stage matches once the details of the hosting location are announced by the AFC.
The 5th Covid-19 wave of infection hits Hong Kong hard and leaves a lot of uncertainty, but Mr. Ken Ng, President of Kitchee Sports Club, firmly believed that Hong Kong football will continue to press forward. “In Kitchee, we believe in being proactive to adapt to the new normal. The team will lift up to the motto of For the Good of Hong Kong.”
With the consensus of the eight participating clubs, the Hong Kong Football Association announced the cancellation of the 2021-22 Premier League, raising concerns for a “total suspension” of Hong Kong football. Alex Chu, director of football and the head coach for the 2022 ACL campaign, urged the players to find their form again quickly. “With the daunting challenges mounting in front of us, Kitchee will press forward and meet these challenges as representatives of Hong Kong. While we gained record points for a participating team from Hong Kong in the ACL, this training camp will be like a pre-season training where regaining match form is our top priority.”
Captain Huang Yang was aware of the challenges of getting ready for top-flight continental football in merely 5 weeks. “We need to capitalise on this training camp, first by staying fit and getting ready for match preparation.”
Hélio agreed that the friendly matches would be essential in the team’s preparation. “We were so close to the next round last year by losing one goal difference, we need to find our match form as soon as possible and hopefully we can get into the Last 16 in this coming ACL.”
To further strengthen the squad for ACL, Kitchee has successfully signed the 30-year-old Turkmenistan international Ruslan Mingazov. Being accomplished as left and right midfielder, Mingazov started his professional career at the age of 16 before winning his first senior cap 2 years later. His excellent performance opened the door to European clubs, where he played in the Latvian Higher League for 6 seasons before joining the Czech First League club Jablonec in 2014. He later joined Slavia Prague in 2016, before seeking new challenges in the Kazakh Premier League from 2019 to 2021, playing for 3 different clubs during that period. Mingazov has already passed the medical examination and will wear the no. 7 kit and played for the Club in the ACL matches.
Kitchee has also recalled Cheng Chin Lung from Southern to reinforce the team for the ACL campaign.
After recovering from his injury, Souza will also be expected to feature in the ACL as a domestic player.
Kitchee will compete in Group J in the 2022 ACL Group Stage which starts in mid-April. Other teams in the same group include the Thai League 1 club Chiangrai United, the Chinese Super League side Shanghai Port, and the winner of Play-off East 2 (between the J1 team Vissel Kobe and A-league Melbourne Victory).