The Hong Kong Football Association will again be represented by two teams at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens with the HKFA Red Dragons replacing South Korea’s FC Seoul.
FC Seoul were forced to withdraw from the tournament due to domestic commitments, having reached the final of a youth tournament in South Korea.
But that meant the Hong Kong Football Association were able to give more of their U-23 players the invaluable chance to pit their wits against teams from across the globe having last featured two sides at Hong Kong Football Club in 2015 as U-18 and U-20 sides played in the annual showpiece.
A HKFA Red Dragons side previously competed at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens in 2012 and 2013 as an U-21 side.
In 2013, the HKFA Red Dragons edged out the Yau Yee League Select on penalties in the Plate quarter-finals before losing on penalties to eventual champions BC Rangers in the semi-finals.
The purpose of inviting HKFA age-group sides to the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens has always been to hand the city’s top youngsters exposure to tournament-intensity competition against similarly aged players from top European clubs.
Hong Kong’s U-23 side enjoyed their finest hour in 2009 as they won the gold medal at the East Asian Games with a penalty shootout victory over Japan in the final with Chan Siu Ki the hero in front of over 30,000 fans at Hong Kong Stadium.
At the 2014 Asian Games, Hong Kong’s U-23 side reached the quarter-finals after progressing from the Group Stage with an unbeaten record before losing to South Korea.