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Seven Singaporeans caused a sensation in Hong Kong Football in 1950s

The arrival of Singaporean footballers in Hong Kong (credit: Hong Kong Football History Society)
Recently after some enquiries, I received these old newspaper clippings from the administrator of Hong Kong Football History Society, a Facebook Page which specialized on the history of Hong Kong football.

It came after a few years ago when I posted some details on this blog's Facebook page that briefly described back in 1952, a group of Singaporean footballers were recruited by Kitchee Sports Club to play for them in Hong Kong First Division - a feat that caused quite a sensation back in those days.

Based on what were mentioned in those clippings, I managed to single out names like custodian Chu Chee Seng, Foo Hee Jong, Ho Hin Weng and the legendary striker Awang Bakar who was referred as "Tong Wong" (唐旺) in Cantonese pronunciation.

The report detailed the players' arrival in HK (credit: Hong Kong Football History Society)
The above clipping reported the Singapore contingent arrived in Hong Kong at 4.15pm at Kai Tak Airport before they were ushered to their accommodation followed by a welcome dinner hosted by Kitchee officials on the same evening.

It added local fans (in Hong Kong) wouldn't find players like Chu unfamiliar as he and other player (couldn't make out the identity due to poor resolution) played in the then British colony before while added Chu was an Olympian (representing Republic of China) in 1948 London Games.

The late Awang Bakar was described as "Malayan number one striker" known for his "agility and confidence in taking shots at goal".

"The Singapore contingent will make their debut for Kitchee this week by cruising across (Victoria Harbour) to take on (Kowloon Motor) Bus (one of the powerhouses in Hong Kong football during that era)." wrote the report which also revealed the seven players "will have their first training session on Thursday in order to allow tactical planning for the coming match".

The same report lauded the signing of these Singaporean footballers by Kitchee as a master stroke and opined that "should they be able to defeat (Kowloon Motor) Bus, the future will look bright for the team."

Introduction of players (credit: Hong Kong Football History Society)

南洋商报 reported the Singaporeans' HK venture (NLB archive)
Singapore's Nanyang Siang Pau (南洋商报) did report the news of the Singapore contingent heading up to Hong Kong in their 25th October 1950 edition but the snippet stated they were going to play for Sing Tao Sports Club (星島足球隊) instead Kitchee (which was never the case that it was believed the confusion derived from the fact it was arranged by media magnate Aw Hoe who was the owner of Sing Tao and Kitchee soccer convenor during that post-war period).

Many thanks to the administrator of Hong Kong Football History Society for the help rendered in making this entry possible.

(Note1: 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)

(Note2: After verified with available sources, the year which the Singaporeans played for Kitchee was 1950 instead of 1952)