Naturalised Agbo ready to make Hong Kong proud
Veteran Wisdom Agbo insists he has plenty to offer Hong Kong after being selected for the international squad at the age of 33.
The Southern captain had his first practice with the 29-member training squad at Po Kwong Chuen Park yesterday as Hong Kong prepare for a friendly against the Philippines on June 4.
"It's a good team and I am very happy to be part of it," said the centre-half, who will obtain his Hong Kong passport next week after arriving from Ghana 10 years ago. "I have great expectations for the team, hoping to win every match I play and make Hong Kong people happy."
Southern surprised many by finishing a remarkable fourth in their first-ever season in the top flight, and Agbo's consistency at the back was a key factor.
Coach Kim Pan-gon said Agbo would be good cover for his two regular choices in central defence - Lee Chi-ho and Chan Wai-ho, both of champions South China.
"We never know what will happen in soccer," said Kim. "Lee and Chan are two reliable players in the heart of defence but if one of them gets injured or cannot play for some other reason, I need a quality player to come in and do the job properly. And Agbo will be one of my first choices."
The coach is also confident his two "exiles" - striker Chan Siu-ki and midfielder Leung Chun-pong, who both play for Guangdong-based China First Division side Sunray Cave - will be available for the game.
"They finish their last match on June 2 before the China mid-season break and should be able to come back after that," said Kim. "I am not sure how many minutes they can play against the Philippines but it's important we can get together."
Hong Kong drew 3-3 against the Philippines in the Long Teng Cup in Taiwan two years ago, but Kim said the Filipinos had made great progress recently.
"I watched their match against Vietnam in the Suzuki Cup in December and was surprised by their performance," said Kim.
"Most of their players are from Western countries - big and with strong physique.
"Although Vietnam controlled most of the possession, they lacked the knowhow to beat a stubborn Philippines defence who in the end won the match with a fast break.
"We need a team like this to practise against as we prepare for the all-important Asian Cup qualifiers against the United Arab Emirates in October."