Wolves eye dream Soccer Sevens debut

Sports | 17 May 2019

Wolves defender Ed Francis believes the English Premier League side can become HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens champions at the first time of asking as they prepare to make their debut at Hong Kong Football Club this weekend.

The Midlands club are one of three newcomers to the annual seven-a-side tournament alongside fellow English team Fulham and Portugal's Portimonense, and they have been drawn in Group D with last year's runners-up Rangers, hosts Hong Kong Football Club and HKFA Red Dragons.

Wolves arrived on a high after many of the players in Hong Kong were part of the side that lifted the Premier League 2 title this season, while their senior side produced a superb first season back in the top flight, finishing seventh in the Premier League and reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

"We're definitely confident we can win it, we had a good end to the season by winning the Premier League 2 so we're on a real high from that and have lots of confidence going into this," said Francis. "I'm very excited to be here and so are the rest of the lads.

"It's definitely very warm and the first seven minutes will be tough, but once we get used to it, I think we'll be alright. We're all fit lads and ready to go."

Portimonense will become the first side from Portugal to take to the field at Happy Valley as they prepare to face Fulham, HKFC Captain's Select and two-time runners-up West Ham in Group A.

"It will be tough to play in this weather but we come from Portugal where it's hot too, so for us it's not so bad," said Portimonense forward Fali Cande.

Defending champions Newcastle, meanwhile, have been drawn in Group C alongside Brighton, Asian champions Kashima Antlers from Japan and Hong Kong's Kerry Yau Yee League Select.

Group B, meanwhile, features six-time champions Aston Villa, two-time winners Leicester City, Singapore Cricket Club and Kitchee, who in 2011 became the last homegrown team to lift the trophy.

In the Masters tournament, defending champions TDW Discovery Bay are in Group A alongside two-time winners Citi All Stars, Nottingham Forest Mobsters, HKFC Chairman's Select and Singapore Cricket Club Masters.

Group B, meanwhile, features Playonpro, English side Wallsend Boys Club and Hong Kong trio Eleven FC, HKFC Masters and KCC Veterans.

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