Two-time Footballer of the Year Cristiano Cordeiro is in a race against time to win the right to represent Hong Kong. The Brazilian has recently applied for a HKSAR passport after spending seven years in Hong Kong, a status that makes him eligible to represent his adopted region in international tournaments. The Xiangxue Sun Hei defender did not get his passport in time for last weekend's interport against Guangdong, which Hong Kong lost 2-0, and 2-1 on aggregate, the result of two defensive blunders. Hong Kong coach Lai Sun-cheung said the inclusion of Cordeiro, probably the best central defender in Hong Kong, would help a lot as the territory faced important Asian Cup qualifiers starting next month. 'All we know is that he [Cordeiro] has applied for a HKSAR passport, but it is not known when he will get it,' said Lai yesterday. 'We definitely need his services as he is reliable in defence.' Hong Kong have been drawn against Qatar, Uzbekistan and Bangladesh in group E of the qualifiers and will host Qatar in their opening match on February 22. The Hong Kong Football Association must submit the final 20-member squad about two weeks prior to the match. Lai said they would include the 32-year-old defender in the 40-member initial squad, and would closely monitor the situation. 'If we are certain that he can obtain the HKSAR passport prior to the match against Qatar, we will also field him in the Hong Kong side for this month's Carlsberg Cup, which is part of our build-up for Asian Cup qualifiers.' It took two months for Gerard Ambassa Guy, another expatriate who has recently fulfilled the seven-year residency rule, to obtain his HKSAR passport. The Happy Valley forward made his debut for Hong Kong in the interport against Guangdong, but failed to impress.