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‘It’s actually an advantage to have multicultural players playing together.’

Every month Escapade Sports will feature stories about All Black FC, a football club dedicated to diversity, inclusion, and empowerment.

One thing is for sure. The club would not be the same without head coach and co-founder Bidjoua Eustache Hauvelith. Thanks to the former national player of the Congo national football team, today All Black are much more than just a valuable community project. They are a highly competitive team, winning trophies while kickstarting the career of young talents.  

That All Black must be taken seriously was one of the biggest lessons for professional clubs in Hong Kong. According to Bidjoua the 1-1 draw against then Premier League side Pegasus in 2017 was indeed a game changer, which earned All Black a lot of respect and made them a popular sparring partner for HKPL clubs during pre-season.

In terms of playing style, the coach teaches his players to be flexible and adaptive: “When we play against stronger teams we use a 4-5-1 formation, so we don’t give too much space to our opponents. But when it comes to teams with less experience we use a 4-3-3, as we want to attack and dominate the game.”

For Bidjoua the diverse background of the players is also a source for strength: “It’s actually an advantage to have multicultural players playing together. Each of them brings their culture for the evolution of the team. The mix also changes the players mentally and makes them a stronger team.”

At the moment, however, the recent wave of Covid cases has become another challenge. Sports grounds remain closed and players can neither practice together nor compete against other teams. Still, Coach Bidjoua hopes his players can keep a positive attitude in this difficult time: “I will advise players to keep the same work attitude, do a lot of exercises and to pay attention to their diet - so they can stay in shape.”

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