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For Korea’s Goalkeeper, Paraguay’s Second Score Still Feels Bad

For Korea’s Goalkeeper, Paraguay’s Second Score Still Feels Bad

Posted September. 02, 2004 22:04,   


“When we lost to Japan in the World Youth Championship last year, I cried on the ground, and cried again after returning to our hotel room. However, after losing in the Athens Olympics, I couldn’t even cry. Nothing came up to my mind, and it was just completely blank.”

No other soccer player in Korea is as privileged as “Little Kahn,” Kim Young-kwang (21, Jeonnam Dragons). Kim Young-kwang is the only player who has played on all the teams run by the Korea Football Association (KFA), including the under-16 team, the under-19 team, the national team, and the Olympic team.

He didn’t give up a single goal in 996 minutes over 11 matches before the Athens Olympics. However, he gave up eight goals in the four games of the Athens Olympics. He permitted three goals in each match against Mali and Paraguay, and three goals is the most number of goals he has ever permitted in a game since he became a national team player. What would have him feel like?

“I forget about a goal right after I give it up. If I keep thinking about it, I make the same mistake again. Sometimes, I even forget what the coach said right after the game.”

Kim had a bright expression on his face during national team training held in the Paju National Football Centre (NFC) to prepare for the 2006 Germany World Cup preliminary match against Vietnam. “All the teams in the Olympics were great. I knew I would permit more than one goal.”

However, he could not forget everything about the Olympics. The one that he still regrets the most is the second goal that he gave up to Paraguay, since that goal was scored when the situation looked as if Korea was about to tie the game.

“I was so stunned that it felt as if I was struck by lightning. I was so sorry for the rest of the team since if I had only blocked that goal, we could have easily tied up that game.”

Before the Olympics, Kim cut his hair short so that it wouldn’t block his sight, and he grew a mustache to look tougher. However, the other teams were also strong. He felt that he had to work harder.

Kim never drinks alcohol. When he’s stressed, he goes to karaoke bars and sings as loud as he can. After giving up goals in Athens, he came back to his room and shouted out loud.

Kim shouts a lot, even during a game. He says it’s a goalkeeper’s privilege during the game to shout and tell his teammates what to do, even the seniors. “It is said that if goalkeeper talks a lot, the team never loses. I call out to get my teammates’ attention, and to encourage myself.”

He’s already preparing for the 2006 Germany World Cup. “During the Athens Olympics, I played against teams from Europe, South America, and Africa. If I get to play against them again, I won’t let them make goals.”

During the training session held on September 2, Kim came in first in the sprint, outrunning all strikers and defenders.

Sang-Ho Kim Jong-Koo Yang hyangsan@donga.com yjongk@donga.com