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4月17日(星期四),晚上8:00,旺角大球場,RedMR 紅人派對甲組聯賽,南華作客對戰傑志,請各位球迷踴躍入場支持!
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球會資料
- 南華體育會足球隊歷史

香港足球的起源及南華體育會的成立

香港足球的起源可追溯至十九世紀中期,英國的軍人及一群從事貿易、銀行和保險業的商人把足球帶進香港。講求團隊精神、合作策略且有益身心的足球運動自此大受歡迎。1886年,英國人成立「香港足球會」。1904年,南華前身「華人足球隊」成立,是第一間正式的本地球會。1908年易名為「南華足球會」。1920年定名為現在的「南華體育會」。

1914年,香港足球總會(HKFA)成立,聯賽旋即舉行。1918年,南華開始參與甲乙組聯賽。

南華球員堅毅不懈、團結一致的精神,引起了國家隊的賞識。第一屆「遠東運動會」於1913年舉行,國家足球隊的大部分代表都是南華球員。出席該項賽事的除中國外,還有日本和菲律賓。雖然中國隊在該年敗於菲律賓,但囊括了餘下九屆的勝利。「遠東運動會」舉辦至1934年停辦。

這段期間,冒出了南華足球史上最閃亮的球星──李惠堂。

 

李惠堂及大坑老圍

李惠堂的足球生涯由1923年開始。他擁有令人嘆為觀止的球技及卓越的領導才能,帶領球隊屢創佳績,打破了外籍球隊壟斷本地聯賽錦標的局面。「亞洲球王」的美譽不脛而走。

當時,香港甲組聯賽只有九龍及南華兩支本地球隊。兩支球隊表現卓越,燃起了香港人對足球運動的熱情,這是香港足球的第一個黃金時期。當時香港島的年青人想踢球就會跑到大坑。

大坑是一條位於香港島東岸的村落,因附近一條從山上流出海灣的大河而得名。大坑早於一百六十多年前由客家人組成,村內五大家族分別從事漁業、畜牧及洗濯行業。鄰近地區「浣紗街」正因為洗濯行業而得名。

政府第一次填海後,這片土地劃為遊玩場地,培育了大量本地足球精英。李惠堂居於大坑,他安排華人球員與英國人比賽,亦獲准於上址練習。

老一輩的南華球迷憶述當年華人球員的頭球一流,形容他們能夠球不著地走畢整個球場。不久,華人球員中的精英開始加盟南華,參加甲乙組賽事。1927年,多得羅文錦的努力,加路連山得以成為南華體育會的基地,傳奇亦因此誕生。

 

中國足球首次進軍奧運

1936年的夏天,中國(中華民國)被邀請參加於德國柏林舉行的第十一屆世界運動大會(即奧林匹克運動會)比賽。在英國殖民政府統治下的香港,南華球員經常與外國球隊比賽,更有多次打敗外隊及贏得甲組賽事冠軍的經驗,因此中國隊二十二人裡,有十四位球員來自南華,隊長是李惠堂。

1936年5至6月,球隊展開亞洲巡迴表演賽,為德國奧運之旅籌募旅費。在新加坡、越南、印尼、馬來西亞及緬甸等地得到當地華人空前的踴躍支持。在新加坡Anson Road球場舉行的一場對馬來西亞賽事中,原本只可容納一萬人的場地,入場人數卻高達二萬六千人,球迷不但擠滿球場,甚至站於球場邊線外觀賞賽事。

中國隊在此次巡迴表演賽中,共取得包括新加坡一役在內的廿三場勝仗,其餘四場賽和,未嘗敗績,合共踢進一百一十三球,平均每場球賽入四球失一球。隊中除了李惠堂外,還有另一位綽號「銅頭」的後衛譚江柏,其頂上功夫當時無人能出其右。

1936年8 月6日,中國隊在柏林奧運抽籤抽得與英國隊對壘。雖然中國隊於該場賽事以0比2落敗,但八位南華隊員都有非常出色表現。他們包括:包家平、李天生、譚江柏、黃紀良、曹桂成、馮景祥、李惠堂及葉北華。

 

香港足球戰後重生

1941至1945年日佔時期,有組織的體育活動全面停頓。戰後初期只有四支球隊恢復活動。但短短兩年間,球壇發展神速,大量球隊湧現,其中由虎標萬金油創辦人胡文虎後人成立的星島最具代表性,其實力直逼南華,除取得1946/1947球季的冠軍外,更成為首支往英國作賽的本地球隊。

有百年歷史的「高級組銀牌賽」在戰後亦重新舉行,並由海軍首奪錦標。賽事主要於四個場地舉行,分別是南華球場、陸軍及海軍球場,還有九龍界限街球場。

戰後,南華足球隊人才輩出,莫振華、姚卓然、黃志強及何祥友被譽為「南華四條煙」。這四條煙吸引大批足球支持者,球迷通宵排隊輪候購票,加路連山球場經常紅旗飄揚,14,000座位座無虛席。

 

南華成為最後一間職業化球會

七十年代開始,本地球隊趨向職業化,特別是商業機構紛紛冠名贊助球隊,得到商業贊助的總督盃亦應運而生。精工體育會由精工鐘錶公司的香港代理商成立,並於1972/1973首奪聯賽冠軍,後來更創下史無前例七連冠佳績。

1971/1972球季,南華擊敗流浪奪得第一屆總督盃冠軍,連同聯賽冠軍及特別銀牌賽冠軍,共囊括三項冠軍寶座。何祥友更因為表現出色,於1972年獲頒授大英帝國員佐勳章(MBE)。

數年後,另一手錶代理商寶路華組織一支球隊,同時引入多位英援。當中更包括代表海蜂的壞孩子佐治貝斯。

南華足球隊是最後一支步向職業化的球會,非常諷刺,自1980年球會職業化之後,球隊一直處於低潮,1981/1982球季更陷於降班漩渦,直至1985年取得足總盃才稍有起色。隨著足總訂立具爭議性的限制輸入外援條例後,本地球壇步入低潮,其中三個球會:星島、九巴及元朗亦退出甲組。

1985年,南華球員導演了一場至今為人津津樂道的賽事,為香港足球爭光。那就是著名的「519」世界盃外圍賽,香港隊北上挑戰中國隊。香港隊先由南華球員、綽號「細鬼」的張志德以一記勁道十足的自由球令對方門將俯首稱臣,再由效力南華十五年、綽號「木嘴輝」的顧錦輝射入奠定勝局的一球。最終以二比一擊敗對手。

1986/1987球季全華班正式實施。在這一年,南華誕生了一顆新星 ─ 山度士。他十三歲已在南華青年軍上陣,中學就讀於聖若瑟書院,於1986年至1998年效力南華。曾為南華取得多項主要錦標,亦兩次取得香港足球先生獎項。

 

從1990年代到千禧新紀元

九十年代初,商人羅傑承開始帶領南華足球隊,球隊亦步向高峰,分別取得1990-1992年聯賽冠軍、1990年及1991年足總盃冠軍,以及1991年高級組銀牌賽冠軍。

2001年南華被亞洲足球協會(AFC)選為11月份亞洲最佳球會。1994年,南華成為首支晉身亞洲盃賽冠軍盃決賽的香港球隊,可惜敗給沙地阿拉伯足球隊艾卡迪沙。

南華在千禧新紀元跌入低谷,2003年,南華足球隊再次實施「全華班」政策,隊中外籍球員星散。這項政策令球隊徘徊降班邊緣,最終在2005/2006球季降班,後得足球總會挽留才繼續在甲組作賽。

2006年,羅傑承先生年再度執掌南華足球部,令南華足球隊重登高峰。不但重奪失落多年的聯賽冠軍,還勇奪「高級組銀牌」及「足總盃」冠軍,成為2006/2007球季的三冠王。


 

History of South China Athletic Association Football Team

Introduction

On 28th April glory returned to scaafc. Who can forget the elation of seeing the scaafc team players on an open-top bus as it toured Hong Kong from Caroline Hill Road to a reception at Olympian City in Tai Kok Tsui? The treble winners have since played Liverpool and Fulham in the Barclays Asia Trophy.

The youthful average age of the team is in keeping with the long-term plan of the Football Management Committee to nurture local talent alongside experienced professionals like Li Haiquing and Detinho. Further, a newly launched Youth Programme will enable more youngsters to graduate through youth and reserve levels with the chance of making a career in First Division football.

The team's motto is “Never look back” and the fantastic success of last season has enabled the troubled period that went before to be forgotten. As the team looks to build on solid foundations, we can take a little time to reflect on the long and distinguished history of scaafc. Way back in the mist of time there is quite a story to tell.

 

How football came to Hong Kong, and the formation of scaafc

The origins of football here date back to the arrival of the British in the mid -nineteenth century. Servicemen from the army and navy and expatriate staff from the traders, banks and insurance companies brought it with them. A sport providing teamwork, tactics and, above all, healthy exercise was a welcome pastime after hours. Hong Kong Football Club was the first to be formed by the British, in 1886, but the first truly local club was scaafc, founded in 1904 but playing under its present name from 1908. The Hong Kong F.A. was started six years later and leagues were running soon after; scaafc entered teams for the First and Second Division Leagues in 1918.

The strength of scaafc as a unified, hardworking team was enough for China to invite the club to act as the nation's football representative in the Far East Championship Games (also known as the Far East Olympics Tournament) involving China, Japan and the Philippines. China lost in the final to the Philippines in the first to be held, in 1913, but in the next nine it won every time, right through until the last FECG to be held in 1934. On that occasion China was a joint winner with Japan. Throughout these tournaments, the majority of the China team was composed of scaafc players.

In the middle of that period scaafc toured Australia and introduced an 18 year old who would become its most famous player to this day - Lee Wai Tong.

Also translated as Li Hui-t'ang and whose Chinese name was 李惠堂, his career took off in “the outback” in 1923 and earned him the name “King of Asia football.” He stunned the hosts with electrifying displays of skill and leadership. Back at home, the club won the First Division Championship that had previously been won only by foreigners. It had been a very successful year.

The HK First Division at this time contained only two Chinese teams, Kowloon and scaafc, and they both did well during this first glorious period in Hong Kong football. The Chinese had developed a passion for the sport and all the youngsters on the island knew where to go in order to play it...Tai Hang.

 

Tai Hang – the footballing legacy of  大坑老圍

An ancient village situated close to the seashore on the eastern side of the island, Tai Hang took its name from the “Big Stream” that formerly flowed down the hillside nearby, and out into the bay. It was a multi-clan village settled by Hakka families about 160 years ago. The five founding families were fishers, dairy farmers, and launderers, a trade recognized to this day by the naming of Wun Sha Street (涴沙街) in the vicinity, which translates as “washing cloth”.

The first land reclamation placed the village inland, but it was that space, created for government playing fields, that led to the cultivating of local talent.  Lee Wei-tong lived in Tai Hang, and it was he who arranged with the British for Chinese footballers to play “scratch” games against them, and to be allowed to practice there.

Elders recall the heading skills of the Chinese as they ran the entire length of the field without allowing the ball to touch the ground. Soon, the best of them were playing for South China's first and second teams. The Caroline Hill Road ground, which had been secured for scaafc in 1927 by Lo Man Kam (of Shaolin Temple fame), was only a quick run away. A legacy had started.

 

The Game of their lives

When the Republic of China (ROC) was invited to participate in the XI Olympic Games to be staged in Berlin in the summer of 1936, its selection committee had a problem. Final athlete selections for all the sports except football were made after intense training sessions preceding departure in July, but football presented other considerations.

It was not only about skill and teamwork, but also about tactics and understanding of western attributes and play. In the British colony of Hong Kong, scaafc's Chinese players were playing foreigners and beating them. The team had just won the Division 1 Championship and the Senior Shield. So the football selection was delegated and that is how eight of the Olympic team that played Great Britain in Germany came from scaafc.

 
21 players, of which 14 played for South China, set off on an ambitious tour of Asia in May and June of 1936. The purpose was to raise funds for the German trip and the unplanned benefit were incredible shows of support by the Chinese communities in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaya and Burma.

27 matches were played in just 62 days! Arranged at little more than two-day intervals, they enabled a great team ethic to develop, and big crowds went to see the Olympic hopefuls in action. At Singapore's Anson Road Stadium for a match against the Malaya cup team, “just over 26,000” gained entry into a stadium with a 10,000 capacity. Fans swarmed over the playing pitch at one point, and were right on the touchline as the match progressed.

 The China victory in Singapore was one of 23, with four draws and no defeats. The team conceded an average of a goal a game, but scored 113, an average of over four. Besides the evergreen Lee Wai-tong, another star was defender Tam Kong-pak (譚江柏), nicknamed “Ironhead” because of his formidable heading skills, acquired over a lifetime of Cuju-type ball games played out on the fields directly in front of Tai Hang.
 
Joining fellow athletes in Bombay after a draw against the India National Team, preparation was upset at sea. The Italian steamship Conte Verde sailed in bad weather to Italy, via Eritrea and the Suez Canal. Olympic Sprinter Cheng Jinguan, in an interview with American academic Andrew D. Morris in 1997, remembers seasickness amongst his countrymen early on. Weather conditions deteriorated so badly that few could even hold food down, let alone train or study German by the time the ship docked in Venice.

69 athletes from seven sports proudly represented the Republic of China in its first-ever team appearance at the world Olympic Games.



The China Olympics delegation in Berlin. 14 players from scaafc were in the party.

China was drawn to meet Great Britain in the qualifying match played in Berlin on 6th August 1936. Eight South China men were included in the team that played heroically but lost 2-0. The names of those eight proud representatives of the club were -

Pau Ka-ping 包家平 (Goalkeeper); Lee Tin-sang 李天生; Tam Kong-pak 譚江柏 and Wong Ki-leung 黃紀良 (Defenders); Tso Kwai-shing 曹桂成 , Fung King-cheung 馮景祥,
Lee Wai-tong 李惠堂  and Ip Pak-wah 葉北華 (Attackers).

 

Football stops for war

The occupation of Hong Kong from 1941 to 1945 ended organized sport, and after it resumed only four clubs were still in existence. However, that changed dramatically and within two years many more had joined the growing league, notably Sing Tao, founded by the son of Aw Boon Haw of Tiger Balm fame. Sing Tao promptly edged out scaafc for the 1945-46 Championship and also became the first local team to tour England.

In this same season, the knockout Senior Shield was introduced, initially won by the Navy. Matches were played on four grounds – South China Stadium, the Army and Navy grounds and Boundary Street Sports Ground in Kowloon.

Honours in the decades after the war came at an unparalleled rate.

 

The Swinging 1960's and 1970's

The 1960's and 1970's remembered for the Beatles, the Star Ferry riots and the emergence of Hong Kong as a financial hub, also marked the second glorious spell in the club's history. Fans queued all night for tickets to the big games. The Caroliners fielded a quartet of players who became known as “The Four Aces”. Mok Chun Wah,  Yiu Chak Yin (姚卓然), Wong Chi Keung (黃志強) and Ho Cheung-yau. Ho (何祥友) was renowned for his fair play and was later awarded the MBE by the British for his services to the sport. These Four Aces thrilled the crowds, and attendances at the Caroline Hill Road stadium were frequently a 14,000 “Red Flag” sell-out.

Professionalism started to take hold in the 1970's and new clubs were sometimes named after the sponsors who were putting money into football. The business-sponsored Viceroy Cup was launched. Seiko Football Club was formed by the watch company's owner Wong Chong-po and became League Champions in their debut season. Later it won an unprecedented seven consecutive championship titles.

Another watch manufacturer, Bulova, fielded a team a few years after that by owner Kwong Chong Shan, and seasoned players from Britain came to Hong Kong to make money and finish their careers in the sunshine. Six Southampton professionals joined a now defunct club and saved it from relegation. Over too came “bad boys” Charlie George and George Best, who had played for Arsenal and Manchester United respectively.

 

South China becomes the last club to adopt professionalism

South China was the last club to adopt professionalism. Ironically, when it did so in 1980, a poor period followed with no honours until winning the FA Cup in 1985. But the fortunes being invested in local football did not last. A controversial ruling limited overseas imports and part of the sparkle went. Sing Tao, Kowloon Motor Bus and Yuen Long were just three clubs falling out of the First Division.

1985 did not only bring a new trophy, but also the most famous game ever played by Hong Kong, and scaafc players featured. This was the “519” match when Hong Kong traveled north to play China in a World Cup qualifier. Against all odds, China was beaten 2-1, and scaafc's Ku Kam Fai (顧錦輝) scored the winning goal. Nicknamed木嘴輝., he played for fifteen years for the club as a defender and sweeper. The first goal was scored by fellow Caroliner Cheung Chi-tak (張志德 ). Nicknamed “The Little Ghost” (細鬼), his spectacular freekick stunned the host's defence and put Hong Kong in the driving seat.

Later that year, an 18 year old teenager named Lee Kin Wo(李健和) made his debut on the wing for scaafc. He went on to have a distinguished career during which he was voted Footballer of the Year three times and was easily identifiable because of his long hair. Ironically, when scaafc won its first trophy last season Lee Kin Wo was playing for the opposition at the ripe old age of 40!

 

The 1990's and into the new Millennium

In the early part of the nineties, a businessman named Lo Kit-sing came to scaafc to make his contribution to the winning of trophies and playing with panache. The success of the club at the turn of the decade is evident in the winning of the League Championship from 1990-1992, The FA Cup in 1990 and 1991, and the Senior Shield in 1991.

In November 2001 the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) nominated scaafc as the best club in Asia, an acknowledgement of a team “at the top of its game.” 

Mr. Lo was to return to the club in 2006. Meanwhile, it reached the final of the Asian Cup Winners Cup in 1994, losing to Al-Qadisiya Al Khubar from Saudi Arabia.

While further honours followed, events took a turn for the worse in the new Millennium. In 2003, scaafc established an “All-Chinese policy” and foreigners were released or sold. The policy did not work favourably. The team started to struggle against relegation and in the 2005-2006 season was relegated. Only an increase in the number of teams from eight to ten saved this famous club from the ignominy of a drop into the Second Division.

The rest, as they say, is history! Today South China Athletic Association Football Team is at the pinnacle of domestic football, has qualified for the AFC Cup, and has recently competed against EPL clubs. It is not surprising that fans await the 2007-2008 season with excitement, and the hope to add to the 84 trophies secured in the last 100 years.

 

 by Vincent Heywood

 

 

 

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