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“Show Us What You’ve Got, European-based Players!”

Posted November. 13, 2003 23:03,   


Under the instructions of the national soccer team coach Humberto Coelho, the players warmed up with stretching exercises, let out some sweat with some easy running along the Namsan Circular road, and ran up and down stairs at their training which was closed to the public.

Maybe because it was their first day, but they did a lot of stretching exercises during their session and there was not much for it to be called “special training.” The only fact that stood out was that there was emphasis on strengthening the leg muscles through the program which required players to run up and down the stairs in the Namsan area.

Perhaps thanks to their time to recuperate these past few days, the three players were in high spirits, flying about with smiles on their faces, and determined to beat Bulgaria on November 18. Song Chong-gug (Feyenoord) took care of his fitness program separately with physical trainer Jose Augusto at 4 p.m., because he could not participate in the training due to a photo shooting session and a signing ceremony with sponsor Adidas. The special training, in which the four European-based players participate, will continue for three days until November 15.

Lee Chun-soo showed his characteristic confidence saying, “It is a pleasure to finally see the players again after a while away. Since the World Cup members are all together again, we will please our fans with spectacular goals.” Park Ji-sung said, “I think it is especially meaningful. Since we are in the middle of the season, there are no physical problems, so this training was concentrated mainly to maintain our conditions.” Lee Young-pyo said, “I will make sure I am in my best condition and play a good match against Bulgaria.”

KBS football commentator Lee Yong-soo (Sejong University professor) gave the analysis that “Coach Coelho’s strategy is to depend on the European-based players to win the game”. In reality, it is impossible for players from the Japanese league (which ends on November 15) and the Korean league (which ends on November 16) to be in their best condition, for they must participate in the game after only one day of recuperation training on November 17, after coming together on November 16. Therefore, the assessment is that Coelho is preparing for the match with Bulgaria by pulling up the four European-based players to their best possible conditioning.

It is the focus of much attention whether Coach Coelho’s strategy for the match with Bulgaria will be effective.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com