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Are Korea’s Overseas Starters Helping the National Team?

Are Korea’s Overseas Starters Helping the National Team?

Posted August. 19, 2005 03:04,   


Park Ji-Sung (Manchester United), Lee Young-pyo (PSV Eindhoven), Ahn Jung-hwan (FC Metz), and Cha Du-ri (Frankfurt) are Korea’s famous “overseas players” on the national soccer team. However, they are becoming a new problem for the Korean national soccer team. This problem cannot be solved easily in a short period time, so a fundamental solution is needed.

On August 17 in the match against Saudi Arabia, Lee Young-pyo, Cha Du-ri, and Ahn Jung-hwan did not play as well as expected. They returned to Korea after August 15, so they did not have time to practice with the domestic players on the team, and each other. However, the majority of the national team consists of these overseas players and they were the starters. Consequently, the unorganized team fell apart miserably. Now, the remaining task is to assess how much the team can utilize the overseas players and how to coordinate them with the team’s “domestic players.”

There is a high possibility of the same from the Saudi Arabia match reoccurring. The Korean Football Association is preparing for three tryout matches in October and November. There are plans for team training trips abroad in January and February next year, but the “overseas players” cannot participate because it conflicts with their teams’ schedules.

The only time the national team will practice with the overseas players is three or four times of national team games and about a month after May next year.

Trying to experiment with different positions and testing compatibility with domestic players may bring about more difficult matches. On the other hand, the team cannot ignore these experiments just to win a match.

Coach Johannes Bonfrere and the National Football Association should specify targets for these few opportunities together and seek to pursue those targets in a consistent manner.

Won-Hong Lee bluesky@donga.com