University graduate Lau Hok-ming channels undivided attention towards professional football
Tens of thousands of university graduates enter the work force every summer and amongst these fresh graduates, many of them probably feel quite uncertain about their future prospects. However, that is far from the case for Kwoon Chung Southern defender Lau Hok-ming, as the enterprising stalwart has his career path clearly mapped out.
Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Sociology from the City University of Hong Kong in the past summer, Lau revealed professional football has always been his sole focus. “I have always placed football in the first place, even back in my school days. Unless my training schedule clashes with my exams, I will always put football in front of studies,” Lau was straight to the point ahead of his third season with the Hong Kong Island-club.
Swapping a backpack full of text books for the grinding world of professional football, the twenty-two year-old Lau admits, both Kwoon Chung Southern and himself, now have much higher expectations on his performance entering the new season.
“Ricky (Kwoon Chung Southern head coach Cheng Sin Siu-chung) spoke with me in preseason, letting me know that I am now a full-time pro, hence the club will have a higher expectation for me in the new season,” Lau recalled his conversation with the Kwoon Chung Southern tactician.
“In addition, Ricky also informed me that I might actually play a bit more in the centre-back position in the new campaign. I have always considered centre-back as my best position on the pitch and I will try to stay simple, showcase my strengths and try to contribute to the team.”
Armed with great physic and immense talent, Lau seems to have a natural advantage on the pitch, therefore it was not surprising to see the towering defender becoming an ever-present in the Hong Kong lineup during the Asian Games 2018 Jakarta Palembang, a tournament that Lau still looks back with fondness.
“While the Hong Kong U-23 might have lost more than we won on the pitch throughout the years, we have nevertheless improved as a team. The thing that really stood out for me is how united we are in the Asian Games, coming together as a team and working towards the same goal. While we might have come up short against Uzbekistan in the round of sixteen, I thought the team gave its all and we had no regrets whatsoever.”
Besides being trusted by the coaching staff on the pitch, the captain’s armband on Lau throughout the whole Asian Games also reinforces the team’s recognition on the young defender’s leadership qualities.
“Putting on the captain’s armband gives you a sense of mission. It also represents the recognition that your coaches and teammates have for you. As the team’s skipper, my responsibility is to assist my teammates on and off the pitch, helping the team to come to its full potential,” explained the sunshine, always engaging defender.
Having witnessed Hong Kong U-23 teammates such as Tsui Wang-kit and Tan Chun-lok receiving contract offers from mainland China clubs in recent times, as well as seeing former Kwoon Chung Southern teammate Olivier Ngue doing well in mainland China football, Lau does not hide his ambitions regarding challenging himself in a higher playing-level down the road.
“Dating back to last season, I was receiving approaches from mainland clubs. As an athlete, of course I would like to play in the highest possible level and keep climbing the ladder. However, besides your own performance, these things often hinge on timing and luck. What I can do right now is to equip myself daily through training, as well as staying focused on winning trophies with Kwoon Chung Southern.”