English giants Chelsea will take on defending champions Kitchee in a mouth-watering group showdown at next month’s HKFC Citibank International Soccer Sevens.
The two teams were paired together in Group C of the Main competition when the tournament draw was held at Hong Kong Football Club today (24 April).
“It is a fantastic draw, a major highlight of the first two days of the tournament,” said Soccer Sevens chairman Tony Bratsanos. “Chelsea have promised to send a strong team so it will be a great match-up against the Cup holders.
“Kitchee were only the second Hong Kong team ever to win the tournament when they triumphed last year and it is great to see them defending their title.
“The overseas professional teams who come to take part in the Soccer Sevens do not always have it their own way. They have to adapt to the seven-a-side format, the heat and the different environment. And if you have pace, as Kitchee did last year, then you can have a lot of success.”
Fans attending the HKFC Citibank International Soccer Sevens – to be staged from 18-20 May at Hong Kong Football Club – will be treated to the tournament’s best-ever line-up.
Chelsea are returning to the event after an absence of 12 years while Newcastle United will make their debut. Also featuring in the Main competition will be five-time winners Aston Villa, Sunderland, West Ham United, newcomers Leicester City and Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers.
The cream of Hong Kong’s emerging football talent will be on display with two official teams from the Hong Kong Football Association, the Lions and Dragons.
In the Masters competition, Treble winner Teddy Sheringham will make a guest appearance for Discovery Bay while the Ajax All Stars will feature former greats from the four-time European champions.
The Citibank All Stars will feature several former Rangers players in their squad, including Italian defender Lorenzo Amoruso and Scottish midfielders Derek Ferguson and Alex Rae.
Ex-Premier League aces will also appear for the Nottingham Forest Mobsters and another debut team, the Anglo-Scottish Lions.
Following the success of the 2011 HKFC Citibank International Soccer Sevens, Citibank has confirmed a three-year sponsorship for 2012-14.
“This year is the second consecutive year that Citibank have sponsored the Soccer Sevens,” commented Weber Lo, Chief Executive Officer and Country Business Manager, Citibank Global Consumer Group.
“We hope that through this sponsorship, we will help develop and grow the Soccer Sevens as one of the key international sports events by bringing the world’s best teams and renowned players to Hong Kong.
“This way we will generate tremendous excitement for all soccer fans and the general public in the city, and create values for Hong Kong society in the international sports arena.”
A new feature at this year’s tournament will be a Toys R Us Kids Carnival which will include various games, entertainment, face painting, giveaways and many other attractions that will keep children occupied for hours on end.
OFFICIAL DRAW RESULTS
Group A: Rangers, Sunderland, Singapore Cricket Club, Kowloon Cricket Club
Group B: Celtic, West Ham United, Leicester City, HKFC Captain's Select
Group C: Chelsea, Kitchee, HKFA Lions, Yau Yee League Select
Group D: Aston Villa, Newcastle United, HKFA Dragons, Hong Kong Football Club
Group A: Ajax All Stars, Discovery Bay, Yau Yee League Select Veterans, KFC Tokyo
Group B: Citibank All Stars, Nottingham Forest Mobsters, HKFC Chairman's Select, Bangkok Airways
Group C: Top Class FC, Anglo-Scottish Lions, HKFC Veterans, Kowloon Cricket Club Veterans