In 1924 the so called “Chinese Universities Football Team” visited New Zealand for a friendly exhibition tour. The well planned and thoroughly documented trip was a repetition of a similar excursion to Australia that took place just one year earlier.
The tour lasted from mid July until the end of September, during which the Chinese team took part in 22 matches, 18 of them against local opponents and 4 against a New Zealand selection. The biggest crowd – reportedly around 28,000 people – showed up on August 9th in Auckland.
Of course football was not the main purpose of this tour. The team was also tasked with a political mission: to improve the reputation of the newly established Republic of China by representing it as a modern nation-state with an educated and well trained population.
For promotion purposes the team was regarded to represent the “Oxfords and Cambridges of China”, but actually most of the players were not affiliated with a particular university. Instead, they were hand-picked by the South China Athletic Association, the oldest Chinese-run football club in Hong Kong. The Chinese YMCA branch in Hong Kong also supported the trip.
Goalkeeper: Pao Ching Ti, Fuhtan
Backs: Lung Kuen (Alexander) Ting, Nanyang; Loh Mei Lung, Nanyang;
Halves: Chen Po, Nanyang; Liang Kwan Sung, Soochow; Lok Lun Naam, Canton Christian College; Hung Hwai Chang, Hong Kong; Tsai Tsa Ying, South Eastern; Wang Chen Sheng, Fuhtan; Chang Hsi En, Fuhtan; Wu Yen Chang, Fuhtan; Lowe Po Tah, Fuhtan; Jap Boon Boey, Hong Kong; Wong Fuh Tan, South Eastern; Lung Kwai (Alfred) Ting, Nanyang, captain
Coach: Wong Tin Sik, May Hill University, Hong Kong,
Manager: A.E. Dome, Director of Physical Education at the YMCA
Further reading: I highly recommend Geoff Watson’s journal article on this interesting event.