National coach Ernie Merrick said he would not force two South China players at the centre of an eligibility wrangle to train with the Hong Kong team if the club refused to release them. Centreback Sean Tse Ka-keung, who arrived from the Manchester City Academy this summer and rightback Jack Sealy were both included in a 29-member training squad announced last month even though they are not Hong Kong passport holders. Both players have been absent from squad training sessions which began last week. The squad is geared towards the qualifying campaign for the 2013 East Asian Football Federation Cup. Hong Kong will play against strong opposition including Australia, North Korea and Taiwan in December's qualifiers with the hope of making it to next year's finals tournament, for which Japan, South Korea and China qualify automatically. Only one team will qualify for the finals. Hong Kong will also start in the Asian Cup qualifying tournament early next year. "I have no problem if the club do not want them to come for training," said Merrick yesterday. "As the national coach, my job is to pick the best players to train and play for Hong Kong on the international stage. But in the end, it's up to them to make a decision. In fact, this is only a training squad for me to watch their performance and no one is guaranteed a spot in the final squad." Club boss Steven Lo Kit-sing said yesterday since both players were ineligible to play for Hong Kong at the moment, the duo should not be considered for the training squad. Twenty-year-old Tse, who was born to a Hong Kong father and an Irish mother in Manchester and holds a British passport, said yesterday he was not ready to represent Hong Kong as changing nationality would be a big decision that he had to consult his family on. The defender made his domestic debut on Sunday when he played the last 15 minutes against Yokohama FC (Hong Kong) which South China won 5-2. Born in England before moving to the city in 1992, Sealy is in the process of applying for a Hong Kong passport. But the 25-year-old has already played for Hong Kong, having featured in last year's Interport Cup against Guangdong along with another expatriate, Godfred Karikari. The friendly tournament requires no Hong Kong passport, but Karikari, now playing for China Super League side Henan, finally obtained his Hong Kong identity in May. Hong Kong will also play Malaysia in a two-round, home-and-away international friendly in the next two months as their final build-up for December's qualifiers.