The New York Cosmos announced on Monday that the club will travel to Hong Kong to play South China Football Team in the Lunar New Year AET Cup at Hong Kong Stadium on Thursday, February 19 with kickoff slated for 3:30 p.m. local time.
“It’s going to be a tremendous experience out in Asia for our players and coaching staff,” Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese said. “It’s great that we’ll be able to play South China Football Team there during the Lunar New Year period and all the festivities surrounding it.”
The game will be a part of the club’s preseason training overseas in preparation for the 2015 North American Soccer League season commencing in April.
“We’re delighted that we have the opportunity to visit Hong Kong,” Cosmos Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover said. “We have an extensive preseason travel schedule planned for the team, which will be announced once logistics are finalized.”
South China Football Team, currently sitting in third place in the Hong Kong Premier League, was founded in 1904. The club has won the Hong Kong First Division league title a total of 41 times, most recently in the 2012-13 season.
About the Lunar New Year Cup
The Lunar New Year Cup, also previously known as the Carlsberg Challenge or the Carlsberg Cup, is an annual football tournament organized in Hong Kong by the Hong Kong Football Association since 1948. It is usually held on the first and the fourth day of the Chinese New Year as a part of the new year celebrations. The tournament was called the Carlsberg Cup between 1983 and 2006 as Carlsberg was the major sponsor of the event.
Since the 2007 edition of the event, the competition is officially known as the Lunar New Year Cup by the Hong Kong Football Association. This is because Carlsberg is now no longer the major sponsor but a mere co-sponsor. During 2011 and 2012, the name of the event was changed to Asian Challenge Cup.
In the period before and around WWII, Lunar New Year Cup was participated by Hong Kong teams and teams from mainland China. Since 1950, HKFA invited at least one overseas team to enter the competition. Before 1982, there were 3 exhibition matches in the tournament. The first two matches were usually participated by Hong Kong national football team, Hong Kong player team and Hong Kong League XI while Chinese XI played the last match.
In 1983, it was the first time to have a main sponsorship for the competition and the invited team number increased to three. From 1993 onwards, national teams rather than club teams were invited to participate in the competition.
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