Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Australia's Central Coast Mariners in Hong Kong 7s

Australian A-League club Central Coast Mariners will its second appearance at the Philips Lighting Soccer Seven’s tournament in Hong Kong. Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna will lead a squad of ten players over three days of Seven’s competition at Hong Kong FC Stadium, starting on 25 May. The Mariners, one of sixteen competing teams, were drawn in Group D alongside English Premier League challengers Aston Villa, tournament hosts and Hong Kong Premier Division side Hong Kong FC and City University of Hong Kong – the winners of the 2006/07 Hong Kong Universities Football League. Other competing teams include European heavyweights Arsenal (England), Tottenham Hotspur (England), Celtic (Scotland) and PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), as well as South African club Kaizer Chiefs and Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan.

Each game of Soccer Seven’s is played on a full sized football pitch and lasts for 14 minutes in total, with each seven minute half interrupted by a one-minute break. The offside law does not apply. The top two teams from each group progress to the quarter finals, where matches last for 20 minutes in total, with teams pausing for a three minute break at half time.

“We’re indeed delighted to be returning to Hong Kong, none of us who were there in 2005 will forget seeing ‘Central Coast Mariners 2 Manchester United 1’ on the scoreboard and we’re hopeful of emulating results such as that one later this month. These matches, although not in the traditional eleven-a-side format, will be our first following the commencement of our full pre-season program and will provide some of our younger players with an opportunity to push their claims for a starting berth as we edge closer the A-League season," Mariners Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman, said. He added that the tournament also accelerates efforts of advertising the New South Wales Central Coast region to an international audience. “Representatives from Business Central Coast and Central Coast Tourism will be travelling with us throughout the trip in the spirit of promoting the Central Coast region in terms of tourism, business and lifestyle," he said.

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