Given the ongoing protests and tensions in Hong Kong, I thought it might be timely to add this shirt to the site. This Hong Kong home shirt is actually one I have had for years. From memory, this version was sold by a German Ebay retailer which seemingly specialises is selling off items for various sports companies. This means you will probably see this shirt in other national team collections. However, even if it is not a particularly rare or exciting shirt, it is nice that this is essentially a player-spec shirt. All the logos and the famous three stripes are heat-pressed, as they were on the player version. The shirt design itself is a version of a template, but the large white collar does give a nice old-school touch.
Hong Kong, perhaps owing to the strong British connection through the 20th century, have a proud history in the game. Formed in 1914, the HKFA were a founding member of the Asian confederation in 1954 (and the first host of the Asian Cup two years after that). 1954 was also the year that Hong Kong joined FIFA. Hong Kong also has claim to being the oldest league structure in Asia, and some of the oldest clubs that are still in existence on that continent. Despite this, on the pitch, Hong Kong has never enjoyed much success. In the early days, the complexity of Chinese national identity meant that some of the better players actually represented Taiwan and China. The players who represented Hong Kong were in some ways a ‘best of the rest XI’ at times. As the years went on, particularity after World War II, this began to change and Hong Kong were fielding a much stronger team. As the team improved so did results and in qualifying for the 1986 World Cup, Hong Kong defeated China in what is still seen as one of their biggest results.
That said, it is hard to look beyond silverware when discussing ‘best ever’ results. And in that light, 2009 must be up their as the most important result in their history. In that year’s East Asian Games football competition, held on home soil, Hong Kong (represented by a mainly u-23 side) recorded wins against South Korea (all players picked from the Korean League) and North Korea. They then beat Japan’s u-20 team in the final on penalties, after extra time. I’ve included a fan-recorded video below to give an idea of the cracking atmosphere for the shoot-out and subsequent celebrations. It’s worth pointing out that while there may not have been full senior teams in all cases, the three teams Hong Kong defeated also make up the top three for the all-time medal table for football at the East Asian Games.
In recent times, Hong Kong finished a respectable third in a 2018 World Cup qualifying round two group that also featured China and Qatar. Amidst fierce rivalry, Hong Kong held China to two scoreless draws but this was not enough and China clinched second spot, and progression to the third round, by three points ahead of Hong Kong.