Photography by William Wong, JRP Borthwick, Christopher KL Lau, Ryan Kam.
On March 24th 2016, the Hong Kong national team will play their final group game away in Doha, Qatar. Their hosts have already qualified for the next stage and, depending on how the game pans out, Hong Kong’s tumultuous and historical run will either end in respect and kudos or continue onto uncharted territory beyond the expectations of all who have observed the national team over the past few years. Interest in the team has reached levels never seen before and tickets for a game have been selling like hot cakes.
Hong Kong’s home games have all been held in the “cauldron” of Mong Kok Stadium with a frenzied wall of noise urging the home team forward. Regardless if they win, draw or lose away in Qatar, Hong Kong sports fans may never experience evenings quite like these ever again.
Offside.hk and their team of photographers have captured these magical moments and the highlights below.
Qatar Versus Hong Kong will be broadcast on free-to-air TV station TVB. Kick Off: Thursday, March 24th (Midnight – Friday Morning).
Captains by Christopher KL Lau – Zhi Zheng of China and Yapp Hung Fai of Hong Kong, the respective captains of their national teams, shake hands before their World Cup qualifying game in Mong Kok. The media were focused on how the two would react to each other after having a bust up at the end of the China home leg.
The “Red” Wall by JRP Borthwick – All Hong Kong’s home matches have been sell out affairs with the lucky fans inside the stadiums unleashing a crescendo of noise to drive the Hong Kong team forwards. The most popular chant has been “We are Hong Kong”.
Wang Dalei Joins the Attack by William Wong – With time running out for China to grab a win against Hong Kong in Mong Kok, the Chinese number one sprinted upfront for the dying seconds as China surged forward to try and score against a very stubborn Hong Kong defence.
Goal or Foul By Christopher KL Lau – A moment of high drama and tension when it seemed Hong Kong had taken a shock lead against China but play was pulled back for a foul on goalkeeper Wang Dalei.
So Close yet so Far for China by William Wong – China dominated both games against Hong Kong and had many opportunities to score but the woodwork, excellent defending and plain luck from a Hong Kong point of view meant both legs finished nil all.
Lam Ka Wai celebrates his goal against the Maldives by JRP Borthwick – Lam Ka Wai, the Hong Kong midfielder, is the creative hub of the team and known for his pinpoint freekicks. He scored a trademark freekick against the Maldives and celebrated with the crowd.
Permanent Resident by William Wong – One of Hong Kong’s many naturalised players, the Brazilian Paulinho, leaves no doubt of his loyalties as he takes on the China defence.
Comeback against Qatar By Ryan Kam – With World Cup 2022 hosts, Qatar, ahead 3-0, it seemed all over for Hong Kong until they scored two late goals with the second by Godfrey Karikari.
Strength in diversity by Christopher KL Lau – Strength in diversity as Hong Kong celebrate a goal.
United Colours of Hong Kong By Christopher KL Lau – The Hong Kong team reflects the diversity of its players backgrounds and all are proud to play for the national team.
Praying for a Goal by William Wong – China’s Wang Dalei prays for a goal as time runs out.
Happy with a Draw by William Wong – After withstanding waves of attacks, Hong Kong players celebrate their home draw with China
Heading to Glory – Bai He starts the fight back against Qatar with his towering header
- In Pictures: Hongkongers clear shelves of Apple Daily in protest over Jimmy Lai arrest and newsroom raid
- Visas for journalists being vetted by Immigration’s national security unit amid long delays – report
- ‘Protest rally’: Stock price soars by 300% after police arrest Apple Daily owner Jimmy Lai and raid newsroom