Ho Shatters Marks
There was absolutely no secret that Ho was hot property, as F.C.BUHAL (Bulgarian Division Five) and GoodDay (Thai Division Four) weren't intimidated by Swiss club Crowded House's option on the young star, making concrete offers. Former Czech national champions Ellysion of Kyrenayke - who have won every club trophy in the country - reportedly also had head coach Gheorghe Iuşcenco reaching out, but there would be no follow-up on that end.
Crystal Fish FC (Canadian Division Four) then became the ones to beat, matching IGBW-Walsum (German Division Seven) through the million-dollar mark, with Borneo Wasps (H.I. Division Five, Brunei) and Estacazo (Spanish Division Seven) throwing their hats in the ring - and then out of it - about this point. At some S$2 million, Saudi Division Three club Desert Maradonnas became the favourites, and entered into a bidding war with American Division Four side L.A. Lapers, with some interest from F.C. JHarden (H.I. Division Six, Brazil). Maradonnas dropped out after Lapers took it over S$5 million, but even that astronomical amount would only be a beginning.
It would then be the turn of Polish Ekstraklasa side Maliny Borek and just-relegated S-League club Marina Sailors to show their hands, but Romanian sixth division FC Bebitza Fitza, eager for a ready replacement for 19 year-old wonderkid Zoltán Szalai, raised to a mind-boggling S$9 million. The incredible fact was that even that
proved insufficient, and there would be a final cliffhanger with Hungarian fifth division club Horymateam edging in with a S$9.5 million bid.
At the end, however, it would be Polish Division Seven club Szczawiki08, flush with cash after their big sales of youth internationals Phuong Korm and Muhammad Nur al Din, who would seal the deal at a crazy S$9.712 million. Then again, it could be noted that they had just dumped S$22.5 million on local prodigy Ariel Policht in a transaction that rocked the European scene, so Ho should at least not have to shoulder as much pressure as he might have expected to, due to his pricetag.
Despite that, it could be described as nothing less than a monster deal for the Birds, seeing as it instantly wrote Ho Dong Ze
into Grilled history as their third most-lucrative sale ever; only Aznan Noor Yadah and Zhan Ju-Hau had broken the S$10 million mark, and that in an entirely alien financial climate.
The lad himself was too besides himself to make a statement, and his Bunnies counterpart Ooi Tze Yi - who fetched S$80000 from Italian Division Five side Hummer United, over the newly-founded São Tomé e Príncipe club Popcorn FC and Sri Lankan club Sabaragamuwa Warriors - could well understand.