Hong Kong Football National Team Coach's Departure Hurts Sport's Growth
A top Hong Kong government official said that the city's multimillion-dollar football blueprint "to rise from the ashes has been damaged" by the departure of national coach Ernie Merrick, according to Alvin Sallay of SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs Jonathan McKinley said that the government-backed Project Phoenix implemented last year to revive the local game "would not be helped by the departure of a national coach just nine months into his job." McKinley said, "To lose a coach of the proven calibre of Ernie Merrick at such an early stage clearly impacts on the implementation of Project Phoenix." Merrick is the "latest casualty in holding down what seems to be a tough job" -- he is the 10th national coach since '00 (SCMP, 10/30).