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Nat`l Soccer Team Goes Mountain Climbing for Training

Posted January. 07, 2009 04:20,   


Koreans often climb a mountain when they make major decisions and renew their commitment.

The national soccer team will also climb Mount Halla to renew their commitment to advance to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. Usually, players hike as part of training, but Team Korea this time will do so on the final day of training camp.

The squad will train between Saturday and Jan. 23 on the southernmost resort island of Jeju.

Coach Huh Jung-moo said, “I wanted to offer mountain climbing not as exercise but to provide players with the joy of conquering the peak. Though players will find it challenging to overcome obstacle after obstacle, I hope they feel the joy of reaching the top after getting over hardships through this experience, so that they can overcome the difficulty in the Asian qualifiers for the World Cup.”

Huh set the schedule for mountain climbing on the final day of training camp ahead of a qualifier in Iran Feb. 11.

Korea and Iran both have two wins and a draw, but Korea leads Group B in the Asian qualifying group because of a higher goal difference.

Huh says he climbs a mountain before every big match. He climbed Mount Halla as an assistant coach just before the 1994 World Cup in the United States. Back then, the national team was in a disorderly mood after qualifying for the World Cup thanks to the “Miracle of Doha” match, in which Iraq tied Japan in the final qualifier.

At that time, Huh tried to keep the team focused by climbing Mount Halla. When he led Korea at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics, he also renewed his commitment by climbing Mount Kumkang in North Korea.

Afterwards, coaching staff and officials of the Korea Football Association joined players in climbing mountains to renew their commitment to victory when foreign coaches led Korea.

Team Korea advanced to the World Cup semifinals in 2002 and qualified for its sixth consecutive World Cup in 2006.

In 2004, the Olympic soccer team under Coach Kim Ho also climbed Mount Halla in training camp ahead of the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics. Korea then advanced to the Olympic quarterfinals for the first time.

“We have to overcome a series of obstacles before advancing to the World Cup. I expect climbing Mount Halla will help players endure tough times ahead,” Huh said.