With the Danish Superliga season kicking off next weekend, former NPL defender Hosine Bility will be a name to watch as he seeks to join compatriot Awer Mabil in the senior squad of defending champions Midtjylland.
Plucked from the same Croydon Kings outfit which spawned A-League breakthrough brothers Al Hassan and Mohamed Toure, Bility, 19, marked his progress by facing off against Ajax in the last eight of the UEFA Youth League last month.
The silky centre-back is being mentored by fellow South Australian and current Socceroo Mabil, as he pushes his case with head coach Brian Priske.
Adelaide-raised but with a heritage in Guinea, Bility signed a five-year deal with Denmark’s marquee club a year ago, and after some long-term injury setbacks is starting to make serious headway.
If Bility maintains his current trajectory, a debut this season looks ever more likely.
He is serving his apprenticeship playing alongside Greece-born, Sydney-raised midfielder Antonis Martis for
Midtjylland's youth team.
Mabil has taken both under his wing, with Bility telling The World Game: “He’s helped us so much. He drives us around, takes us out to eat and pays for the food.
“He’s somebody to talk to and learn from when you’re either up, or maybe going through a tough time.
“Obviously we share that Adelaide connection and he already knew my brother from the past.
“He’s gone through difficult periods in his career to get to where he is now and, to be honest, his advice is invaluable.
“He’s been like a big brother to me since I got here.”
Bility first came to Midtjylland's attention playing at the All Stars Cup youth tournament in the Czech Republic in 2017.
He was voted best defender, surpassing emerging European prospects from the likes of Atletico Madrid, Porto, PSG, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal.
He doesn’t pretend it’s been easy finding his feet in challenging terrain at the other end of the world.
“At first I got a bit homesick and I hadn’t travelled much before,” he added.
“But I can only praise the club by standing by me and believing in me.
“They’ve given me time to get me mentally right.
“I see a very positive future here - this club is known for giving young players a chance.
“They’re in the Champions League playoffs and it’s a big year ahead, so I’m sure they’ll dig deep to try and use as many players as they can.
“There will be opportunities to train with the first team to also test (my) level.
“For me, the plan is to keep learning and keep pushing. From where I’ve come from, it’s mind-blowing to be at a club that’s trying to qualify for the Champions League group stages.
“It was quite humbling to come up against Ajax, and even though we lost 3-1, it showed a glimpse of what football is all about and how it’s meant to be.
“I’m looking to soak up all the information I can.”
Taking a holistic approach to youth development, Midtjylland are as forensic about producing rounded humans as they are successful footballers.
“They have coaches and staff who look after young players’ mental and psychological well being,” Bility added.
“They want to build a human as well, it’s not just all football.
“There’s life after football - that’s what they try to get into our heads.
“Off course football is the main thing but they work on a lot of other aspects too.”
Yet to represent Australia at any level, Bility is firmly in the sights of Young Socceroos coach Gary van Egmond.
A tournament in Uzbekistan slated for October has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.
But Bility remains hopeful a call will ultimately come.