TWO of Hongkong's leading overseas players, Paul Nixon and Anto Grabo, spoke out yesterday against the South China players who have withdrawn from the territory's World Cup squad. Nixon, whose form for Eastern this season has earned him a recall into the New Zealand squad, said the actions of the South China players had ''made a mockery'' of the international set-up. And Grabo, South China's star player in their 3-0 demolition of Eastern in Sunday's Viceroy Cup final, said he could not understand why his teammates had turned their back on their country. Hongkong's squad of 22 players for World Cup qualifying ties in Lebanon in May and South Korea in June included five South China players. But South China official Bruce Mok said the club were not happy with the squad's strong Eastern influence - eight players and team manager Lam Kin-ming - and this had led to the resignation of South China boss Steven Lo Kit-sing as assistant team manager,before he was persuaded to return to the fold yesterday. Speaking at a sponsors' lunch yesterday, when Nixon won a cheque for $15,000 for being the top scorer in the Viceroy Cup with four goals, the Eastern striker said: ''I think the Hongkong First Division has a lot of good players but when you get experienced players pulling out of the national squad it makes a mockery of the international set-up. ''I would not encourage the five players to rejoin but I would say they have made a rash decision based on a rivalry between two teams - and that should not affect their judgement in playing for the national team. ''I think it is hurting the image of the national team. ''If I do well for New Zealand in a warm-up match I may force my way into the World Cup squad and I would look upon it as an honour to represent New Zealand. I wish the Hongkong players, ie South China, would think it was an honour to represent their country.'' Of the five South China players involved in the walk-out, only one of them - skipper and sweeper Chan Ping-on - is injured. The other four - midfielders Leslie Santos, Chu Yue-tai, Shum Kwok-pui and Chiu Chung-man - all played in Sunday's final against Eastern. Nixon added: ''Those players are not indispensable - there are plenty of guys with the same ability who could take their place. ''Once the decision is made you have to go on from there and if they have decided not to play that should be final. The Hongkong FA should make plans for the team and not worry about the South China players pulling out of the national team. ''The league set-up has got to be bigger than one club.'' Speaking about their defeat in the final, Nixon said: ''The most important thing now is for Eastern to win the league championship - and then no-one can grumble about Eastern having too many players in the national team.'' Grabo, who said he was ''80 per cent certain'' to be playing for South China next season, said: ''I do not understand why they have all pulled out. ''It cannot be right because if you are a sportsman it should be your dream to represent your country. ''Shum Kwok-pui and Chiu Chung-man are young players who have come from nowhere this season and they should be thinking of their futures. It is a very important time in their career because they are starting to become good players. ''It is impossible for me to understand this attitude.'' Grabo earned 40 of the 41 votes available for the best attacker award in the final and he won $15,000. Eastern captain Lee Kin-wo picked up the other vote. Eastern goalkeeper Iain Hesford won $15,000 for being voted best defender. He collected 12 votes and was followed by South China goalkeeper Allen McKnight (eight), South China trio Koo Kam-fai (six), George Haniotis (five) and Shum Kwok-pui (five) and Eastern's Tim O'Shea (two).