Senior Citizen Detinho ready to roll at 40

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 July, 2013, 10:45pm

Citizen striker Detinho insists he can still deliver the goods this season despite being the oldest outfield player in the league.

The Brazilian, who turns 40 in September, will embark on his eighth season in Hong Kong when the new campaign kicks off next month.

Age is not a problem as long as you have the heart. I will continue until I think it's time to stop, physically and mentally

"I think I can still play and most of all I want to play," he said after Citizen's first pre-season training session yesterday. "Age is not a problem as long as you have the heart. I will continue until I think it's time to stop, physically and mentally."

Citizen executive director Calvin Pui Ho-wang has complete confidence in the striker, who has netted 65 goals since he started his career in Hong Kong with South China in 2006.

"He is always powerful in the air and despite his age, he is still a key player," Pui said. "That's why we offered him a contract.

"Of course, he cannot always play a full 90-minute game, but whenever he gets the chance to start, he will contribute his best and help the team."

Hong Kong international Sham Kwok-keung said Detinho could play for a few more seasons. "He has a strong fighting spirit which cannot be found in every player," Sham said. "As long as he is injury free, he can play a lot more in Hong Kong."

Citizen escaped relegation last season only in their last game.

"We have learned a big lesson," Pui said. "At certain points of last season, we lost our confidence which made life really difficult for the whole team. The players know it well and will not want to repeat this."

Citizen have signed Serbian attacking midfielder Marko Krasic from Indonesian Super League side Arema, and promising local player Toby Down, 19, who was with Kitchee's youth team.

"We are still looking for a striker and are close to a deal with a Brazilian player," Pui said. "Although our budget has been slightly cut to HK$7 million, we are capable of pulling off some good results."

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article carried a picture of Brazilian striker Dentinho. We apologise for any confusion.