“My colleagues used to be professional players and many of the Eastern players are in the Hong Kong team. Their experiences on the field are very useful and I think having suitable communication with them would help my coaching a lot,” says Chan.
Andrew Barisic, a 29 year-old Australian striker says Chan and the players have mutual respect for each other, adding that players need to be able to relate with their coach on an emotional level and not just discuss the matches.
“If there is any problem, the players feel open to talk her (Chan). If you don’t have that relationship, the players sometime maybe get a bit upset or they can’t voice their opinion about something so it is really good that she accept everyone to be able to talk to her,” says Barisic.
Chan readily admits she has disadvantages – mainly her lack of professional playing experience. But she works hard to make up for it through her people skills and her technical knowledge of the game. She watches and studies the careers and performance of Barclays Premier League club managers – the tactics of former Chelsea boss José Mourinho, the short-pass style of play employed by Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola and the man-management skills of Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp win her admiration.
“I don’t know if I can imitate them, but I will try to study them,” says Chan.
There are drawbacks to being a female coach but Chan says she cannot do much to change them and instead she must work with them. Besides, she says there some advantages too. “Female coaches are usually more attentive and patient,” she says. “I think the way that men and women perceive things, are always different and on the coaching team, it is better to have males and females to complement each other.”
Chan is determined to continue her coaching career in the foreseeable future. Further down the line, she acknowledges she may have to face the challenges of balancing her career with family responsibilities.
“But at this stage, when I can still invest time in football, I would not miss any chance,” says Chan.
Her passion for the beautiful game is what drives her forward, but Chan also appreciates the support she receives from fans. Among Hong Kong Premier League sides, Eastern enjoys relatively high attendances at their matches. “They always buy tickets to support us, making the atmosphere better. And our motivation becomes greater as well,” says a grateful Chan.
Her gratitude, for the opportunities she has been given and for the responsibility that has been entrusted in her, motivates Chan Yuen-ting, Beefball, to continuously raise her game. “Hong Kong’s football has given me a lot… Hopefully, one day I can serve Hong Kong’s football,” says Chan.
Edited by Kate Kim