Star winger Mahama Awal, recovering from a knee injury, is unlikely to be thrown back into the fray for South China against visitors Pahang of Malaysia in a top-of-the-table AFC Cup clash at Mong Kok Stadium on Wednesday night. The Cameroonian footballer, who has become a crowd favourite with his power and speed since arriving in January, damaged his right knee ligament when the two sides met in a group G match in Malaysia last month. I am about 80 per cent fit and it's up to the boss to make his decision South China's Mahama Awal South China won the important away tie 1-0 to put them top of the group with a 100 per cent record after three games, but they also paid a price with the injured Awal forced off after 20 minutes. Awal has since worked hard to get back into shape but is not fully recovered. "My mind says I want to play and also my heart," said Awal. "But it all depends on the condition of my body. I am about 80 per cent fit and it's up to the boss to make his decision." With the domestic League Cup final to be held in a week's time against rivals Kitchee, South China coach Mario Gomez is unlikely to risk fielding his top player. The cup champions can gain a direct berth to the season play-off for a place in the 2016 AFC Cup. Awal is not the only foreign player who is unlikely to make tonight's match. Striker Daniel McBreen has been suffering from flu and is almost certainly ruled out. Forward Chan Siu-ki, who scored the only goal against Pahang last month, is likely to team up with Hong Kong international Lam Hok-hei up front. Gomez admitted South China would be weakened without the two star foreign players as each team is allowed a maximum quota of four overseas players in a regional cup tie. "They are both important players but sometimes you have to face reality," said the Argentine. "The team is making good progress, although I would say there is still room for some improvement. "We need to get points in the home match but the visitors will come back strongly after losing to us in their home game. We have to pay full attention, not only in defence, as any lapse in concentration will cost us dearly." South China lead group G with nine points. A victory on Wednesday night will put them in the round of 16 while Pahang, who are five points behind, badly need a win to keep their hopes alive. Yadanarbon of Myanmar, who are third with three points, are away to bottom team Global of the Philippines in the other group G match. Meanwhile, a disappointing Kitchee lost 2-0 to Johor Darul Ta’zim in Malaysia on Tuesday night and gave up top spot in group F. Forward Jorge Tarres said they could have easily been down by four goals by half-time but they improved in the second half. “If we want to qualify, we must win our two remaining matches,” he said. “We have the quality but we must prove it.” The Malaysian side now lead the group on nine points. Kitchee are second with seven points.