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“The Young Players Performed Beyond My Expectations. I Saw Hope in Them”

“The Young Players Performed Beyond My Expectations. I Saw Hope in Them”

Posted June. 10, 2005 06:52,   


“I saw hope in the young players. I’ll go to Germany after discovering players with potential and getting them to have experience equivalent to that of a national team.”

Korean national team head coach Johannes Bonfrere (59), who commanded the Korean national soccer team’s sixth consecutive advance to the World Cup, has declared that he would speed up the shift in the generation of players in order to repeat the Korean team’s milestone semi-final finish in the 2006 Germany World Cup.

After securing a ticket to the 2006 Germany World Cup by defeating Kuwait 4-0 in the match in Group A of Asia’s final preliminary rounds held on June 9, Coach Bonfrere spared no praise for his young players, saying, “Today’s victory owes much to the young players. Although they are young and relatively lacking in experience, they absolutely exceeded my expectations.”

In particular, Bonfrere showed his unlimited trust for Park Joo-young, noting that he had considered Park exceptional just for his first goal in the match against Uzbekistan but that Park disheartened the Kuwaiti team by scoring successive goals.

The following is an interview with coach Bonfrere.

Q: “You’ve achieved the Korean team’s sixth consecutive advance to the World Cup…”

A: “We recorded one win and one tie, as expected when we started on our road trip. The young players did especially well today. These young players will perform much better playing after accumulating experience with time. Our team is well prepared.”

Q: “The Korean team won the game by a large margin…”

A: “Our players trained hard after the match against Uzbekistan. Their stable playing became the driving force of our victory. We prepared a lot for the weather over here. In particular, the players were mentally armed. Our first goal helped our team substantially.”

Q: “How do you evaluate the playing of Park Joo-young, who scored two goals in a row?”

A: “I first selected Park because of his promise, but he did a good job in his first match as a national team player against Uzbekistan without feeling much pressure. Particularly, I have high expectations for his future performance after seeing him score in both games. I used many young players today, to the degree where the average age of our team line-up decreased remarkably. I think that once these young players acquire more experience, they could be far better players.”

Jong-KooYang yjongk@donga.com