20s at Eastern
With his outstanding performance on the soccer pitch and his
trademark — long and curly hair — Lee Kin Wo, nicknamed “Wo Chai”
by local soccer fans, is recognised as one of the most representative
players in Hong Kong.
The 33-year-old Mr. Lee said, “My career in soccer during my
20s went quite smoothly.
“I did not suffer from serious injuries and I was fortunate
to be recruited by some large football teams.”
Mr. Lee has won the award of “The Best Hong Kong Soccer Player”
twice, during the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons, when he was 24
and 25 years old.
During his 20s, he won many championships when he was still
playing for Eastern Football Team.
“The days in Eastern are among my happiest memories,” Mr. Lee
Tracing his career path, Eastern was not the first club that
he played in. Instead, it was Lai Sun Fah Fah Football Team where
he started his soccer career.
“I first played as a substitute player for the team in the first
division in 1985.
“But soon I became a regular player for the team.”
At that time, he was only 17.
After seven years’ training in Lai Sun Fah Fah, Mr. Lee went
to Eastern when he was 24. He was recommended by Peter Leung,
who was the manager of Eastern at that time.
The winning of titles and awards in Eastern marked Mr. Lee’s
successful soccer career in the three years’ stay in Eastern.
He still recalls the strengths of Eastern that helped to shape
the climax of his career.
Cooperation among the team players is one of the strengths.
“At the beginning, we didn’t win any championships. But we soon
cooperated well, as most of the teammates were young.
“The quality of foreign players in Eastern was very high.
“Also the relationship between local and foreign players was
very close,” said Mr. Lee.
According to Mr. Lee, it took him some time to overcome the differences
between the two teams.
“In Eastern there was less pressure as expectations from all
parties were lower.
“However, in South China, which is a big club and has a lot
of fans, I am expected to perform well all the time.”
Mr. Lee’s most unforgettable matches on the pitch were when he
was in his 20s, coincidentally. It also has something to do with
Eastern and South China.
The two matches were both between Eastern and South China at
the time when Mr. Lee was still playing for Eastern.
He said, “The two matches were so unforgettable because of the
“Before the matches, no one believed that Eastern could beat
South China, as both teams were similarly strong.”
It ended up, however, that Eastern beat South China with a high
number of scores.
“In those two matches, we (Eastern) totally scored nine goals
and conceded nil to them.”
However, his career path in his 20s was not always that straight
and easy. Thunder struck sometimes.
“I had some unhappy days on the Hong Kong team because the team
did not have any great achievements. I even got kicked out by
the team,” he said.
Nonetheless, he could always work things out with his motto
— never surrender.
Said he: “I put in effort in my career and soon I was back onto
the Hong Kong team again.”
The now seasoned player said that he wants to be a coach after
“I want to devote myself to soccer,” he added.
However, he does not have any intention to retire in the near
“Because I love and enjoy playing soccer.
“I love the feeling of it and if I ever leave the field then
I will not be able to taste it again,” the long-haired midfielder