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Verbeek: Team Korea to Focus on Youth

Posted July. 27, 2006 03:01,   


On July 26, Pim Verbeek, the 50-year-old coach of the Korean national soccer team, returned to Korea from his vacation in the Netherlands, which started after the end of the 2006 World Cup Germany, with a bright expression on his face. He said that he had pondered quite significantly about the future of Korean soccer.

Arriving at Incheon Airport wearing a blue short-sleeve shirt and black pants, his first words were, “I want to express my consolation to the victims of the torrential rain and flooding.” He added, “During my vacation, watching old World Cup games and friendly matches, I have given great thought on how to lead Korean soccer. I think the task facing me right now is discovering confident and talented young players and to pass the preliminaries for the Asian Cup.”

Verbeek also stated, “I will carefully watch young players born in or after 1985 to be fully prepared for the Beijing Olympics 2008. Any player will be given the chance to join the national team as long as he has potential and talent.”

Although he did not mention anything about “changing generations,” he showed his determination to boldly change the national soccer team’s colors. He said that in order to the advance to the final round of Asian Cup 2007, the nearest goal, he would use veteran players. However, he added the premise that in order to join the national squad, veteran players should demonstrate that they could perform better than the younger players.

Having seen all domestic Korean players by watching K-League games for the past nine months, Verbeek said, “I will select players with potential regardless of their age for the national team. I will not be bound by the Asian Cup entry and select as many young potential players as possible and test them. It will be difficult to select European and Japanese League based players because of their respective schedules.”

Verbeek said “I’m Dutch. Dutch soccer dominates the game through strong pressure. I will find a player that fits this style,” implying that he will pursue Dutch-style total soccer.

After consulting with the coaching staff, Verbeek will announce the national team roster, and then supervise his first national soccer team training drill on August 6 at Paju National Football Center since he was appointed as the skipper of the Korean team.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com