Former national player Afzaal Haider, 37, has been appointed temporary National Coach of Hong Kong. He steps in following the sudden departure of Aftab Habib, and will be in his role until February 2010.

“It’s a great honour and privilege to be Hong Kong’s coach, should things go well I would like to be considered for a permanent position,” says Mr. Haider.

Hong Kong’s new coach take the country through to the ACC Twenty20 Cup in the UAE in November and the ICC U/19 World Cup in New Zealand in January 2010. Level II certified, coaching professionally at Kowloon Cricket Club since 2002, prior to arriving in Hong Kong Mr. Haider was a first-class cricketer in Pakistan, a club-cricketer in England and played grade-cricket in Australia. “Coaching is nothing new to me,” he says, “I have been playing with everyone in the Hong Kong squad and will know how to get the best out from them.”

Afzaal Haider strikes, Hong Kong v Pakistan, Asia Cup 2008

A confident individual, whose easy grace belies considerable competitive fire, the new Hong Kong coach has already set targets for his time in charge: “Top two in the ACC Twenty20 and at least one win against the Test-teams in the U/19 World Cup.” Mr. Haider retired from the Hong Kong national team as the country’s most successful bowler, taking more than a hundred wickets in international competition in a career which took in 4 ODIs at two Asia Cups, in 2004 and 2008.

ACC Development Officer for Hong Kong Rumesh Ratnayake says of Mr. Haider, “I think out of the local coaches he will be the one who will be right for the job, my support will be there for him to further the capacity at all times.”

Hong Kong Country Profile

Filed Oct 14th, 2009