Citi All Stars

After winning the Masters Cup for the first time last year, the English Professional Football Association representatives return once more with hopes of retaining their title.

Always among the main draws at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens, their 2016 line-up included a host of former English Premier League stars including ex-Liverpool duo Patrik Berger and Vladimir Smicer, former Chelsea defender Frank Sinclair, one-time Fulham midfielder Luis Boa Morte and former Blackburn Rovers man David Thompson.

Michael Mols and Marvin Andrews, who enjoyed success in the Scottish Premier League with Rangers, were also part of an exciting squad.

Over the years, the Citi All Stars have brought with them a cast tipped for success yet a runners-up finish in 2011 – after a 4-3 loss to Hong Kong’s Eastern Salon Top Class – had been the best they had previously managed.

But last year they finally lived up to their billing when, despite a 1-0 opening-game defeat to Yau Yee League Masters, the representative team went on to top Group B after successive wins over Singapore Cricket Club Tigers, HKFC Veterans and Wallsend Boys Club.

A narrow 1-0 win over HKFC Chairman’s Select in the semi-finals saw them advance to a second HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens final, before lifting the trophy for the first time after a 3-1 victory against USRC.

Much will be expected of the Citi All Stars again this year as the defending champions return to Hong Kong aiming to be the first side to retain their title since Lorenz All Stars won three successive Masters tournaments between 2005 and 2007.