Tai Po FC
|Full name||Tai Po Football Club|
|Ground||Tai Po Sports Ground|
|Chief President||Cheung Hok Ming|
|Head coach||Cheung Po Chun|
|League||Hong Kong First Division|
|2012–13||First Division, 10th
Tai Po Football Club (also known as Wofoo Tai Po Chinese: 和富大埔 due to sponsorship reasons) is a Hong Kong professional football club. The club is formed by the Tai Po District Council. The club is named after their major sponsor, Wofoo Social Enterprises.
- 1 History
- 2 Stadium
- 3 Supporters
- 4 Book
- 5 Current squad
- 6 Honours
- 7 Performance in AFC competition
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The club entered the newly formed third 'district' division in 2002–03 season. They promoted to the Second Division the next season. In 2005–06 season, they gained the promotion to the First Division after finishing second in the Second Division, behind HKFC.
Tai Po struggled during early stage of the 2006–07 season, conceded 13 goals in the first three league matches, which is consistent with many pre-season predictions.
The Home game
Wofoo Tai Po's fourth game of the season was at home against local giant South China AA on 30 September 2006. This was the first ever Hong Kong First Division League game to be played in Tai Po Sports Ground. With over 2,500 supporters cheering the home team and the signings of three Brazilian players, the club played courageously and only lost the game in the last minute by 2–3.
The club's performance vastly improved since the home game. They recorded some surprising victories including a great come back (scored a 4–3 from 1–3) against the defending league champion Happy Valley and a last minute winner(a direct free kick to make it 2–1 by defender Joel in 90') against multiple cup winner Kitchee in November 2006.
Tai Po secured their First Division berth for the 2007–08 season after defeating HKFC 3–0 on 5 April 2007, which also resulted in HKFC's relegation.
- Hong Kong First Division League: 7th
- HKFA Choi Fung Hong Senior Shield: Quarter-final (Details)
- Hong Kong League Cup: First round (Third in Group A) (Details)
- Hong Kong FA Cup: First round
After the inaugural season, the club's coach Chan Hiu Ming (Chinese:陳曉明)left the club for the newly promoted Workable (Chinese:華家堡). Tai Po FC spent most of the off-season searching for a new coach. Finally, former Hong Kong football star Tim Bredbury, who coached Rangers for a short period of time in the previous season, accepted the job. Moreover, in response to the successful and popular home game last season, Tai Po FC has applied for 5 home games to be played in Tai Po in the following season.
HKFA has announced the decision: the first 9 matches of Tai Po FC, no matter scheduled as home or away game, will be played in Tai Po Sports Ground. But the arrangement was strongly criticised and objected by the first game opponent, Workable's manager also Tai Po FC's ex-coach Chan Hiu Ming. Chan Hiu Ming expressed his team would not play their home game at Tai Po Sports Ground firmly and questioned the fairness about the arrangement. Eventually, HKFA re-arranged the schedule, where Tai Po FC would only play their home game at Tai Po Sports Ground for the entire season.
Apart from promoting players from the youth team, the team kept most of its important homegrown players, except Kan Tsz Yeung(Chinese:簡子洋) and Chung Kin Keung (Chinese:鍾健強), both left to join Workable. The three foreign players also stayed with the team in the new season, including the fans' favourite Christian Kwesi Annan. New players was introduced after the season has started. Chinese player Ye Jia(Chinese:葉佳) was signed from Rangers FC after the first match, and followed by the Brazilian forward Rafael dos Santos, Betine "Betine"[clarification needed], who has also scored a debut goal in the match against Rangers FC.
The first 5 matches in the season resulted in 7 league points, which met the expectation. The contract of Tim Bredbury was terminated with agreement from both parties, however. Some notable reasons are the board disagreeing on some decisions of Bredbury on starting line up and substitution. Tim Bredbury has also had very poor relationship with the players caused by the training methods. Formation, tactics and player deployment was also highly questionable(some notable decisions were deploying players well known with skill to play in center position to the wing, and wingers were deployed in the central midfield). Chan Ho Yin(Chinese:陳浩然) was appointed as the main coach after Tim Bredbury's departure.
Another notable events of the club in the season was the penalty dispute in the league game against Eastern AA at 2 December 2007. In the 25th minutes, Tai Po was awarded a penalty and scored by Dega. However, Dega was judged, by the game referee Pau Sai Yin, performed interrupting movement during approaching the ball. According to the rule of FIFA, for infractions by the kicking team, should a goal be scored the kick is retaken. However, the referee awarded a free kick to Eastern AA which has violated the rule of FIFA. After the game, Tai Po Football Club made an official objection to the HKFA and the objection has been approved by the example of the rematch decision made by FIFA on 2006 Asian World Cup Qualigying game Bahrain vs Uzbekistan. In the rematch, Tai Po Football Club won by 3–1, Dega scored a penalty kick without any disputes.
The team had some bad matches in the middle of the season but ended the season strongly, especially with two fabulous 2–1 winning against the eventually league champion South China. In the first match, Tai Po Football Club delayed the league championships declaration of South China and knocked it out of Hong Kong FA Cup in semi-final in the second match.
Tai Po Football Club ended the league in the 3rd position with is over expectation. The team also played in first top division competition final against Citizen at 18 May 2008 in Hong Kong Stadium and lost the match in 0–2.
- Hong Kong First Division League: 3rd
- HKFA Choi Fung Hong Senior Shield: First round
- Hong Kong League Cup: First round (Fifth in Group A)
- Hong Kong FA Cup: First Runner-up
FA Cup winners
With the success in the previous seasons, Tai Po FC secures several new sponsors in this season. New Territories Realty Association (Chinese:新界地產商會) and Creative Property Services Consultants Limited (Chinese:創毅物業服務顧問有限公司) are amongst the more remarkable new sponsors. Tai Po FC starts the 2008–09 Season in a rather good style. Until 22 September 2008, they have recorded three straight wins. They have beaten Tuen Mun Progoal, Sheffield United and TSW Pegasus respectively.
On 6 June 2009, Tai Po won 4:2 against TSW Pegasus, in front of 4,042 fans at the Hong Kong Stadium, to lift the Hong Kong FA Cup, marking the first time a district team has won the trophy. Caleb Tochukwu Ekwenugo, Sze Kin Wai, Lee Wai Lim and Christian Kwesi Annan scored the goals for Tai Po. In addition, Lee Wai Lim won the title of Man of the Match. Tai Po thus qualified to play in the AFC Cup in 2010.
Season 2013–14 saw Tai Po secure promotion to the Hong Kong First Division League after a final day victory over top of the table rivals Wong Tai Sin. Building from a strong defensive foundation, Tai Po managed to complete the season having conceded just 11 goals in 22 league games.
Main article(s): Tai Po Sports Ground
Tai Po FC played their first home matches on Tai Po Sports Ground at 30 September 2006, against South China AA. As a public integrated sport facilities and is owned by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department(Hong Kong Government), the pitch and grass quality are insufficient to meet the requirement of professional football.
However with the refurbishment in 2007, Tai Po FC has applied to have 5 home games, between September to November, to be held in the Sports Ground in season 2007–08.
HKFA has also considered to arrange two matches at the same match day in the sports ground.(This type of arrangement is common in recent years of Hong Kong First Division League game, where two matches will be played immediately one after another in the same stadium, usually in weekend, so that fans can watch two matches with single match ticket price. It's known as double header. (Chinese:雙料娛樂)
However, in a 2007–08 pre-season pitch examination, HKFA eventually decided that the ground was not up to standard for First Division matches and in the end no game was held at the ground.
Thus, nearly two years after Tai Po FC played their first ever home game in the sports ground in the First Division, Tai Po FC played the home game at the sports ground again against Sheffield United on 13 September 2008. 1,136 fans attended the game and Tai Po won 2:1.
Wofoo Tai Po published its own book to commemorate its first season in the Hong Kong First Division League. The book is titled Wofoo Tai Po – Football can fulfill dreams (和富大埔—足可圓夢). The book has about 160 colour pages and is completely in Chinese. It contains many player interviews, history and views on district football and Hong Kong's participation in the Homeless World Cup. It retails at HK$68 (US$9). Its International Standard Book Number is: 978-988-99851-1-0.
- As of 11 November
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- Winners (1): 2012–13
- Winners (1): 2003–04
Performance in AFC competition
- AFC Cup: 1 appearance
- 2010: Group stage