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2005 K-League to Kickoff Sunday

Posted March. 04, 2005 22:38,   


Enjoy the K-League Together!-

Korea`s professional football clubs will start their nine-month journey to the championship trophy, starting with the Samsung Hauzen Cup Tournament on March 6. The first half of the season will run from May 15 to July 10; the second half will run from August 24 to November 9; the playoffs will begin on November 20, and the league will end with its championship finals on November 27 and December 4.

The cup tournament, where 13 professional soccer teams will compete in a one -round, full-league system, will be a chance to assess each team’s initial improvement after their winter training sessions.

Suwon Samsung and FC Seoul Expected to Dominate in 2005-

The Korean Football Association`s technical advisor, Kang Shin-woo, said that Suwon and Seoul will dominate the 2005 K-League, and expected the Pohang Steelers, with new Brazilian head coach Sergio Farias, to be a potential challenger. SBS football analyst Shin Moon-sun also gave credit to Suwon and Seoul, classified Ulsan Hyundai, Chunnam Dragons, Busan I’park, Chonbuk Hyundai Motors, and Seongnam Ilwha as mediocre, and gave Daejeon Citizen, Daegu FC, Incheon United, Bucheon SK, and Gwangju Sangmu low spots.

The big match up on Kickoff Day-

Among the six games held on kickoff day, the most attention will be drawn to the “Gwangyang Showdown” between Heo Jeong-mu, the head coach of Chunnam who finally came back to the K-League after seven years, and “The Star of Chongqing,” Lee Jang-su, who heads Seoul FC. They will meet head-to-head in Gwangyang, Chunnam`s home.

As alumni of Yonsei University, the two head coaches are considered bitter rivals.

After resigning as the head coach of the Korean National Football Team, Heo took the helm of Chunnam, where Lee had left after bitter power struggle with the team, while Lee grabbed Seoul`s head coach job, which Heo had been expected to take.

Who is the best?-

This year`s star-studded K-league will be exciting to watch. Returning 2002 World Cup stars Yoo Sang-cheol and Song Jong-guk finally came back to Korea, and “The football genius,” Park Ju-young, will make his debut in the K-League as a FC Seoul member. “Vacuum sweeper” Kim Nam-il moved from Chunnam to Suwon, and “The Prince of Bonfrere’s Realm,” Lee Dong-gook, finished his mandatory military service as a player on Sangmoo and will come back to Pohang. Nadson (Suwon), the 2004 foreign player MVP, Nonato (Seoul), who had 19 goals last year, Rumanian mercenary Adrian Neaga (Chunnam) and “The Son of the Wind,” Manichi (Incheon), are expected to play well.

The Korean Professional Football Association on Friday agreed to a 2005 K-League sponsorship worth 340 million won with Samsung Electronics.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com