Weddings get in the way of international qualifiers

Hong Kong coach Kim Pan-gon has admitted he will have to alter his plans  as the team prepare for two crucial Asian Cup qualifying matches next month, as two of his players are getting married at the same time.

South China winger Lee Wai-lim has pulled out of both matches – against the United Arabia Emirates and Uzbekistan – as he is getting married on November 20, while Kitchee’s Lo Kwan-yee missed Tuesday’s training after his wedding on Monday. The full back’s teammates, Cheung Kin-fung and Lam Ka-wai, also missed Tuesday’s training, apparently having partied late into the night after the wedding celebrations.

Hong Kong will take on qualifying group leaders UAE on November 15 in Abu Dhabi before hosting Uzbekistan at Hong Kong Stadium on November 19.

“I knew some of the Kitchee players would not be able to attend this morning’s training because of Lo’s wedding. It’s understandable,” said Kim after just 17 players showed up for training at So Kon Po. “But luckily some of the Kitchee players did show up.”

“Lee is an important player in the team, but his wedding is also a big thing.”

Words you can never imagine Paolo Di Canio every saying.

Midfielder Huang Yang, who also attended the wedding banquet, said he only drank orange juice.

“I knew I had to get up at 8.30am and so I did not drink [alcohol at the banquet],” said the Hong Kong Footballer of the Year. “We have two important matches ahead and have to be focused.”

It’s good to see that at least one person is taking the forthcoming matches seriously.

With four points from three games, Hong Kong must take points from next month’s matches before travelling to Vietnam for the final group game in March if they want to make it to the finals in Australia in 2015.