Kitchee forward Christian Annan has revealed that his side are determined to become the first club from Hong Kong to win the AFC Cup.
Kitchee kicked off their 2016 AFC Cup campaign with a 1-0 win over tournament debutants Kaya FC and will now travel to Singapore to take on Balestier Khalsa FC, who opened up their account with a 2-2 draw with New Radiant SC.
The Hong Kong-based club had a strong showing at the tournament last year and reached the quarter-finals before being thrashed 7-1 on aggregate by Al-Kuwait. This season Annan has said that Kitchee are looking to go even further, and want to make history.
“Hopefully we are hoping to achieve a great result by winning the AFC Cup because that has been the aim and target for Kitchee and Hong Kong in general,” Annan told FOX Sports Asia. “If we can get past the quarter-finals or past the semi-finals and into the final, that’s our target.”
Should Kitchee perform well in the AFC Cup this year, Annan believes it will have a big impact on football in Hong Kong as he feels it will lift the status of the country in the eyes of the footballing community.
“[Kitchee doing well] is very important because it’s great awareness for Hong Kong because most people around the world may not know Hong Kong [as a footballing nation] for the time being,” he said. “Most countries in Asia know, but it is great awareness for [Kitchee] and the Hong Kong national team.”
The 37-year-old was glad that Kitchee started their AFC Cup journey on the right note, and is confident about his side’s chances of beating Balestier on March 8, since they have played in Singapore on numerous occasions and know what to expect.
“It’s a great feeling [to start with a win] because over the years we have been doing the same thing on and on, but at the same time every win counts,” he said. “It’s a great feeling even though we lost a couple of chances. We could have won by a larger goal margin, but at the end of the day we are on top of the group.
“It’s like a regular match I would say because we’ve been to Singapore before. So, we can face them and see how it goes, but at the end of the day, we’ve played a couple of games in Singapore and the pitch in artificial so at least we know how to handle it.”