Kinkladze ruled out of Ajax tour
Ajax Amsterdam new boy Georgi Kinkladze will not be joining the Dutch giants in next week's exhibition encounter with Instant-Dict, organisers confirmed yesterday.
Kinkladze - who was yesterday reported to have signed for Ajax in a GBP5 million transfer deal from newly relegated English side Manchester City - was 'extremely unlikely' to play in Hong Kong, said promoter Terry Catton.
'We have spoken to Ajax and he will not be coming,' Catton said during a press conference to announce the May 24 Unicom National Paging Cup, which will also feature French team Paris Saint-Germain and local side Rangers. 'Because the tour is so soon, it is simply extremely unlikely. We understand that Kinkladze's agreement starts from next season onwards, which is the main reason why he won't be here,' Catton said.
'The coach also had doubts about trying to mould a player into the side so soon.' While Ajax will be without Kinkladze, Hong Kong fans have been guaranteed a glimpse of Finnish star striker Jari Litmanen, who was initially thought to be ruled out of the tournament because of Finland's internationals with Germany and England.
But following a plea from Ajax officials, the free-scoring Finn has been cleared to play.
'Litmanen will now be able to play. He is going to play in the match and then fly out of Hong Kong on the night of the game to join the Finland squad,' said Instant-Dict executive director Ken Ng.
Paris Saint-Germain will also be fielding a strong squad. Although they will be missing Brazilian midfielder Rai, who left PSG for Sao Paulo last month, the Parisian side will be able to call on the attacking talents of Patrice Loko and Marco Simone.
Simone, who moved from AC Milan to PSG last summer, has been one of the outstanding players in French football this season and on Sunday was crowned France's Footballer of the Year.
Rangers, who take on PSG in the curtain-raiser to the Instant-Ajax game at the Hong Kong Stadium, are wisely attempting to strengthen their squad with two South American imports.
Rangers manager Philip Lee Fai-lap said a Brazilian defensive midfielder and a Paraguayan forward were in talks with the Hong Kong side about guesting in the match.
'We are having discussions with two players, but as yet we haven't agreed anything,' said Lee.
Instant boss Ng also said his club were considering beefing up their side.
'We have made approaches but so far we haven't had any success,' Ng said.