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Pro teams Cooperate with Coach Huh

Posted January. 22, 2008 19:42,   


“The national and professional teams need to find a win-win solution.”

The answer is cooperation. The newly-launched Korean national soccer team under the leadership of Huh Jung-moo is set to go on a smooth sail toward the 2010 South Africa World Cup with help from pro teams.

Huh Jung-moo (picture) has been meeting managers and heads of 13 pro teams, except military team Gwangju Sangmu, to ensure building a cooperative system between the national and pro teams.

With the third qualifying match in Asia and the final match for the 2010 World Cup ahead, the pro teams` cooperation allowing the transfer of players is all the more necessary to recharge and muster up its team power.

The pro teams promised active support for an early transfer of their players as the control tower of the national team is now led by a Korean, rather than a foreigner as before, and changes in the national team composition requires more time.

The pro teams have made a great concession. Despite the fact that each of them needs to prepare for the 2008 season through overseas training programs, they allowed the transfer of their players starting from Jan. 27 until Feb. 6 for a World Cup qualifier match with Turkmenistan, and then from Feb. 17 to 23 when the East Asian Football Federation Championship opens in Chongging, China.

According to team regulations, players have to come back to their teams after a match with Chile and Turkmenistan on Jan. 30 and Feb. 6, respectively, before they join the national team again. Yet as most of the pro teams are training overseas currently, the decision was made to allow the players to stay with the national team rather than flying back and forth.

Secretary General of the Korean Professional Football League Kim Won-dong said, “Most pro teams take a favorable view of Huh. They decided to help create the best possible environment for him to lead his first national team to excellent results.” He added, “Principles are there to coordinate different opinions. But through discussion we can find a win-win strategy.”

The Korea Football Association also plans to transfer players from pro teams with minimum disruption in the Korean League schedule for the pro teams.

Technical Director Cho Young-jeung said, “At the moment the national team schedule is not overlapping with those of the pro teams. If that occurs in the future, we will consult the pro teams rather than going ahead with one-sided decisions.”

Yet there is still a seed of conflict. Pro teams with only one or two players to transfer are in a better situation, but those with four to five national representative players have to bear heavier burden.

A pro team official said, “Even though we decided to cooperate, we are in a very difficult situation to run a team with more than half of the best team members missing.”

Players of the national team, who are affiliated with Jeju United, Chunnam Dragons and Pohang Steelers, set to conduct their overseas training programs from Jan. 22-26, will start their training earlier at the Paju National Football Center on Jan. 23.