Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Sean Tse (謝嘉強)

2012 - present : South China (Hong Kong)

His name may not sound Irish, but this young defender is an Irish Under 17 international. Sean Ka Keung Tse was born in Salford, England in 1992. Signing first for Manchester United at the age of 12, he switched to rivals Manchester City a year later in 2005.

Although born in England, Tse's Father is from Hong Kong, while his Mother is Irish. Tse therefore had always intended on playing for one of these two countries. His dreams were realised early in his youth career when he was called up to Sean McCaffrey's Under-17s side in 2009. 

Tse rose through the ranks of the Manchester City Academy. He was named Player of the Month in November 2009, and his future at Eastlands looked promising. So much so, that in the 2011-12 season Manchester City named him in their squad for their first ever UEFA Champions' League campaign. However, the Irishman never made a first team appearance for the Citizens

He was released by Manchester City in July 2012 at the age of 20. A move to League One side Oldham Athletic loomed, but the player decided instead to return to his roots, and signed for Hong Kong side South China AA. 

He became the fifth Irish player to play in Hong Kong after Terry ConroyPeter FoleyTim O'Shea and Colin Baker.

South China Athletics Association are Hong Kong's most successful ever football team. In their 102 year old history, the club have won 40 First Division Titles, 30 Senior Shields, 9 FA Cups and 2 League Cups. They play their home games at the magnificent Hong Kong stadium, which can hold 40,000 fans.

Hong Kong stadium
Tse signed for South China on August 12th 2012, after being handed a contract by manager Liu Chun Fai. In order to bring in Tse, who was registered as Irish, the player has agreed to change his citizenship, adopting the nationality of his father. He has also stated his intention to switch to the Hong Kong national side, seeing his Irish future almost certainly come to an end.

Tse's debut against Yokohama
On 2nd September 2012, Tse made his debut for South China, coming on as a 74th minute substitute in a 5-2 over Yokohama FC Hong Kong. He remains at the club now, and has been joined by his younger brother, Adam.

In December 2012, Tse was selected by Hong Kong coach Kim Pan-Gon to represent his country at the 2013 Guangdong-Hong Kong Cup, a non-FIFA recognised tournament that Hong Kong won on penalties. Although it doesn't count as a full senior cap, no doubt it won't be long until Tse is a full international with Hong Kong.

He may not be 'Irish' anymore, but the Wild Geese will be keeping tabs on the young man anyway, and wish him luck.

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