Kim expected to keep Hong Kong job

Hong Kong national team coach Kim Pan-gon is is expected to be retained in the position when his contract with the national football association expires at the end of the year.

Kim took over the job in 2013 after his predecessor Ernie Merric left the post suddenly.

According to Hong Kong Football Association chief executive Mark Sutcliffe, Kim would be kept on, but the details of his expected contract extension has not been agreed yet.

"I have met with Kim and have assured him his contract will be extended when it expires at the end of December," Sutcliffe is quoted by the South China Morning Post.

"Kim has done a good job recently and has had some excellent results. He is a hard-working and dedicated coach who is knowledgeable and passionate about Hong Kong soccer. He has the full support of the association, as I believe he does too from other coaches, players and fans."

"Details of the new terms, such as duration, targets and main responsibilities remain to be finalised.

Conjecture over the remainder of Kim's tenure comes at an inopportune time for the East Asian country, as they prepare for their Asian zone World Cup qualifiers against Bhutan, the Maldives and China.

Kim has refused to be drawn into speculation but maintained that his heart has always been with Hong Kong.

"It is difficult to achieve results in Hong Kong compared to China, Japan and my home country South Korea," said Kim.

"But I am still here because Hong Kong gave me a chance and trusted me. Over the past three years, I have been given a free hand to choose players and prepare for tournaments and I feel soccer is improving in Hong Kong."