Woman coach steps down after tough year

Former Eastern coach Chan Yuen Ting feels that she lacks experience at the top level and is studying to advance to the next level of coaching.
Former Eastern coach Chan Yuen Ting feels that she lacks experience at the top level and is studying to advance to the next level of coaching.

HONG KONG • Pioneering female football coach Chan Yuen Ting has stepped down a year after making history as the first woman to lead a men's team to a top-flight league title.

The trailblazing Chan - nicknamed "Beef Ball" for her toughness - coached Eastern Sports Club to win Hong Kong's Premier League in April last year for the first time in 21 years and led them into this season's Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League.

The 28-year-old announced her resignation on Saturday after the final game of a disappointing season in which Eastern failed to add to their silverware.

Although the club finished runners-up domestically behind champions Kitchee, they were outclassed in their continental campaign, scoring just one goal and conceding 24 in earning a single point in six matches, including a 7-0 defeat at Chinese giants Guangzhou Evergrande.

An emotional Chan, who appeared close to tears, said that she "must take responsibility" for failing to add any trophies and losing out in the title race, according to the South China Morning Post.

"It has been a great experience, going through all the ups and downs over this past season, especially when we had to compete on different fronts such as the AFC Champions League," she said.

"Unfortunately I could not help the players by bringing the best out in them. I still lack the required experience."

Szeto Man Chun will replace Chan as head coach but she is expected to stay on with the club in a lesser coaching role.

A spokesman told Reuters: "She will be studying for the next level of coaching badges with the Asian Football Confederation and will have to be out of Hong Kong a lot between June and December, so she decided she could not continue as head coach."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2017, with the headline 'Woman coach steps down after tough year'. Print Edition | Subscribe