Nigerian Lawrence Akandu flies to Japan today with the Hong Kong national team for his first taste of international football, promising to throw his considerable bulk behind the side's efforts to defy their role as cannon fodder in the inaugural East Asian Championship. Hong Kong have finally received clearance from FIFA to include the 29-year-old Nigerian, who qualifies after spending the past eight years in the SAR. The six-foot, 131/2 stone Happy Valley forward brings some much-needed muscle and a defiant attitude that will come in useful for the matches against World Cup finalists South Korea on Thursday in Tokyo's National Stadium; on Saturday against the hosts in Saitama; and a week tomorrow against China in Yokohama. 'I don't like it that people believe we're always going to lose,' Akandu said. 'I'm confident and I hope I'm going to bring them the luck they need.' Akandu's involvement has already proved lucky for coach Kenny Lai Sun-cheung as Sun Hei striker Wong Chun-yue, who led the line impressively in the Asian Cup qualifiers in Uzbekistan and Thailand, has an eye problem that may keep him out of the opening match. Lai can call upon the African whose strength will be significant in Hong Kong's bid to earn enough possession to show some of their attacking skills. 'He has a good body shape and good control,' said Lai. 'I've talked to him about South Korea, Japan and China. They're good teams in Asia and I've told him he must hold the ball up.' It's a big step up for Akandu, who took some time to adjust to life in Hong Kong's first division, but has now claimed seven goals in eight matches. 'It's a different challenge. We're going to go and slug it out. I hope I'm going to add some spice,' he said. 'I'm proud to play for Hong Kong. I love visiting Nigeria, but Hong Kong feels like home. There are a lot of friendly people here. I have seven players from Happy Valley in the squad and that'll make it much easier for me, because I don't speak Chinese. I'm glad I've got my teammates with me.' Hong Kong are also boosted by the addition of defender Ng Wai-chu, who missed the Asian Cup qualifiers to complete the Chinese Jia B season with Guangzhou Xiangxue. Ng's side finished second and Lai believes he brings some extra experience to the side. 'He's very fit because he's been playing at a higher level than the Hong Kong league. He's played in the Olympic team with [Rangers centre-back] Chan Wai-ho and he'll be very good for our defence.' Hong Kong squad Goalkeepers: Fan Chun-yip (27, Happy Valley), Goldbert Chi-chiu (age 22, Rangers), Chan Ka-ki (24, Sun Hei). Defenders: Chan Wai-ho (21, Rangers), Lai Kai-cheuk (26, Happy Valley), Lee Wai-man (30, Happy Valley), Leung Chi-wing (25, Rangers), Luk Koon-pong (25, South China), Peter Man Pei-tak (21, Rangers), Ng Wai-chu (22, Guangzhou Xiangxue), Poon Yiu-cheuk (26, Happy Valley). Midfielders: Cheung Sai-Ho (28, Happy Valley), Lau Chi-keung (26, Sun Hei), Law Chun-bong (22, Sun Hei), Lo Chi-kwan (22, Sun Hei), Sham Kwok-keung (18, Happy Valley), Szeto Man-chun (28, South China), Tam Wai-kwok (26, South China), Wong Chun-yue (25, Sun Hei). Forwards: Lawrence Akandu (29, Happy Valley), Chan Ho-man (23, Sun Hei), Kwok Yue-hung (28, Happy Valley).