|Following a recent visit to Hong Kong, ACC Development Officer Rumesh Ratnayake reports back enthusiastically about the prospects of Hong Kong developing its first international size ground in Kowloon, on the Po Kong Village Road. “It would seem to suit all the ICC requirements. Hong Kong definitely needs its own dedicated ground in order to properly train and develop its players. There are many youngsters showing a great deal of talent and a national ground can only inspire them to strive harder”, he said.
HKCA General Manager, Danny Lai comments, “The HKCA is very serious in having at least one international ground. Po Kong is one option and another is a ground in Mission Road. We shall be lobbying the government to grant at least one ground to us on a long term basis.”
The symbolism of the HKCA having a new ground cannot be underestimated, nor can the practical benefits. The Hong Kong C.C. along with Kowloon C.C. (private members’ clubs) have been tremendously accommodating in helping the National Squad with their facilities for matches and training. But it is a situation that cannot be relied upon forever. Moreover, their grounds are not large enough under ICC guidelines to stage international matches. As a Fast Track and Intercontinental Cup competitor, Hong Kong is having to play all of its 2005-2006 international matches away from home.
A fifteen-minute drive from Kowloon C.C., the Po Kong village ground is spectacularly located on the flattened peak of a hill and from ground-level it is possible to look over the rooftops of the old traditional style buildings adjoining it. Signs of Hong Kong’s rapid development are not far away either, as the newly-built commercial and residential high-rises tower round the ground’s northern boundaries.
Rumesh Ratnayake’s coaching assignment saw him cast a close eye over the national squad as well as the junior players and coaches, all of whom would have had their performances enhanced through his input. What most impressed him however, was an Under-11 group selected from the Social Schools Development Centres. He comments: “There are more Chinese youngsters playing now than three years ago and some of them are very sound technically. Everyone thinks they will be a real force to reckon with in a few years time. Some of the Chinese girls too are even better than some of the boys who are playing!“
Filed February 24 2005