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Former Soccer Int`l Consoles Park CY Over Own Goal

Posted June. 19, 2010 17:39,   


Editor`s note: The following is a letter written by Cho Kwang-rae, who scored South Korea`s first own goal in history at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, to striker Park Chu-young, who did the same in the 4-1 loss to Argentina Thursday.

Chu-young! You must’ve have had a difficult night.

Don’t dwell on it too long. You should let it go though difficult to do so. If you think about it over and over again, you’ll feel nervous and lose your composure, and then you cannot play with confidence.

You don’t need to remain cowered. To be a great player, you should learn to boldly accept it. You’ll be a great player by overcoming this difficulty, won’t you? It’s not the end, you have an important game.

Though a lot of talk is going around, those who know what soccer is all about know your situation well. The own goal was unavoidable. If the offense is not diligent, no own goal is possible. In a free kick situation, you joined the defense to prevent a goal, which deserves praise. You didn’t cause the own goal while trying to deflect the ball with a header. While you watched a player in front of you taking a header, the ball hit your shin. So it cannot be said that it was your mistake.

I was in the same situation in a game against Italy at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. We were losing, 2-1, in the second half. The ball sent to an Italian attacker was already on the line. But I wanted to deflect the goal so I extended my foot. Unfortunately, the ball hit my foot and went into the net. At the time, neither I nor my teammates knew if it was an own goal by Korea. But it was recorded as an own goal later. For attackers, scoring is more important.

I’m sure you remember the day when I visited your house in Daegu to scout you while you were a high school senior. Until then, I had called parents when I concluded contracts, but this was the first time I visited a player’s home in person.

That’s because I saw your strengths. You had good skills and were speedy and sharp in movement near the goal. The timing of your shooting was also excellent. I thought I should stop at nothing to recruit you. As promised, you joined my team after entering Korea University. Though I didn’t have a chance to be with you due to my departure from the team, I’ve always had affection for you.

Not only me but also your teammates and many fans understand you. Now is not the time to point fingers at anyone. It’s time to inspire the entire team with courage, including you and coach Huh Jung-moo. I believe the entire team will feel the encouragement and support of the Korean people.

Nigeria is loose. If we don’t allow its players to attack and press them at a rapid pace, we can defeat them. Speed and pressure are our strengths, aren’t they? You should take the offensive from the beginning. In the game against Greece, (Lee) Jung-soo and (Park) Ji-sung each scored goals, and against Argentina, (Lee) Chung-yong did. It’s your turn against Nigeria. Go for it!