Kitchee seeks Sapling Cup breakthrough, will take

After punching its ticket for the Senior Shield semi-final, Kitchee will redirect its attention towards the Sapling Cup tournament on the coming weekend. The Blues is set to make its debut in this year’s Sapling Cup group stage by facing fellow Group B side Hong Kong Pegasus on Sunday afternoon. Match venue for the intriguing battle will be Mongkok Stadium and the game will kick-off at 5:30pm. Competing in the Sapling Cup for the third time, Kitchee is determined to improve from its previous showings, hoping to advance past the first hurdle or the group stage. The gritty Blues will do its best to ensure that happens and supporters can expect an all-out effort by everyone in Kitchee colors. Due to the Sapling Cup competition rules that states that every participating side must have two Under-22 players on the field at any given time during the match, therefore young Kitchee prospects such as Sebastian Buddle, Barak Braunshtain, Mark Swainston and Robert Stamp might just recieve the call from the coaching staffs. The former trio have already made their season debuts in the Community Cup and have performed capably in the victory over Eastern Long Lions. Thus, seeing these Kitchee prospects earning a bigger role in the Sapling Cup might not be all that surprising. Kitchee goalkeeper Guo Jianqiao points out that Hong Kong Pegasus is indeed a dangerous side and a 50-50 game should be expected. “We are neck-and-neck with Hong Kong Pegasus in the premier league table and that tells you how good of a side they are,” expressed the Kitchee custodian. “The two sides have also met earlier this season in the premier league and the opponent played quite well in the game, with their counter-attack really catching people’s attention, therefore we must keep a close watch on their main counter-attack sources such as Awal Mahama and Joao Emir, neutralizing their threats as best as we could.” Teenager Barak Braunshtain maintains he is ready to face Hong Kong Pegasus and will be eager to get the call to play his part in the game. “For me personally, the Sapling Cup is a fantastic opportunity to play and to pick up valuable experience,” said the eighteen years-old. “Senior pros such as (Lo) Kwan-yee, (Lam) Ka-wai, Jared (Lum) and Matt (Lam) have all offered me great tips and I have worked very hard to improve in youth and reserve matches. I definitely feel like I am ready to do my part for the first team.”