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District teams nurture young football players

The "District Football Teams Training Scheme" targeted at 15- to 19-year-olds has provided its latest batch of 600 participants with systematic training leading to the Inter-district Football Competition.

Launched by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) in 2000, the training scheme provides intensive training for youngsters with basic football skills and forms football teams in 18 districts every year.

Training is divided into two stages and competitions form an integral part of both. During Stage One, all trainees play in the Nike Premier Cup Youth Football League. After successfully passing a selection test, about 420 participants will be promoted to Stage Two, during which they will represent their respective districts in the Inter-district Football Competition.

Over the past five years, the scheme has produced a number of outstanding football players, some of whom were invited to play in the HKFA's Third "District" Division.

Kwai Tsing and Tai Po, the champion and first runner-up in the HKFA' s Third "District" Division of 2003-04, were invited to play in the association’s Second Division League of 2004/05. Tai Po, having reached second position in the Second Division League in 2005/06, will be promoted to the First Division League in the coming year.

The finals of the 2005/06 Inter-district Football Competition, divided into two groups according to age, were played today (May 31) at Mong Kok Stadium.

Yuen Long beat Sai Kung 2:1 in the under-17 group and Kwai Tsing beat Wan Chai 4:1 in the under-20 group.

Presenting prizes to the winning teams were Deputy Director of Leisure and Cultural Services (Leisure Services), Mr Alan Siu Yu-bun; Director of the HKFA, Mr Ng Kin; Marketing Manager of Nike Hong Kong Limited, Mr Vincent Lai, and representatives of district sports associations and District Councils.

Enrolment for the 2006-07 training scheme will start in August, 2006, and training will begin in November.

Ends/Wednesday, May 31, 2006
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