BLOATED ATTEMPT TO REPLICATE MALAYA CUP
Unfortunately, response to the concept of Semarang-born, Raffles Institution graduated Gaw were lukewarm from those Chinese football teams across the Straits of Johor when Singapore's footballing powress was way ahead of them in that era.
|Chee Lim with Ho Ho Cup (Malayan Saturday Post, 25 May 1929 (NLB NewspaperSG online archive)|
An agreement was made to stage the first "Chinese Interport Football Competition" match in 1928, it was years later the name of the match changed to "Ho Ho Cup" (HHC) to reflect the backing of confectionery giants.
Led by Yee, a squad of 19 Malayan Chinese players was assembled with majority of them from Singapore and four players each from Selangor and Perak arrived in Hong Kong for the red-letter date on 1st of April 1928 at the Hong Kong Football Club Stadium.
|Some accounts said the original Ho Ho Cup was lost during WWII (NLB NewspaperSG online archive)|
The hosts capitalized on their home ground advantage and claimed the honour as the first winners of the sliver trophy with a 3-0 win on a slippery pitch in front of a capacity crowd.
Throughout the years, fans witnessed many outstanding players from both sides of the Causeway featured in the HHC such as the late Lee Kok Seng (Singapore first national team captain after independence) who played for the Malayan Chinese in the 1957 edition, both Kim Siak and Kim Lye of Quah brothers made their appearances in the 1968 match alongside the legendary Chow Chee Keong, the late Malaysian goalkeeper whose begun his illustrious professional career in the then British crown colony after the match.
|Lee Kok Seng's introduction at JBS|
The revamped triangular tournament did not sustain for long with escalating travelling costs and scheduling conflicts in the later years eventually saw the curtains lowered down in 1983 with Malaysian Chinese crowned as the last winners following a 3-1 win over their Singapore counterparts in Kuantan.
In total, 35 matches were played with Hong Kong accounted for 23 victories, Malaya (later Malaysia) claimed 11 wins which included a shared victory with two-time winners Singapore in 1981.
|The replacement Ho Ho Cup trophy (NLB archive)|
(P.S 2: The content of this blog entry is based on informations gathered from 1)香港足球史稿, 2)Kelab Jersi Kita, 3)NewspaperSG, 4)獨立媒體, 5)RSSSF)
(P.S 3: I stand to be corrected should there be any mistake in this entry, please feel free to email me should there be any mistake, thanks)