South Korea’s key defensive back Kim Young-gwon will be rested for the national team’s winter training camp in Brazil and the United States ahead of the FIFA World Cup, his head coach said Thursday.
Hong Myung-bo, the national team bench boss, told reporters that Kim, who plays for Guangzhou Evergrande in China, will not be traveling with the rest of the team when South Korea sets up its pre-World Cup training camp on Jan. 13.
Kim, 23, played 28 out of 30 matches for Guangzhou in the Chinese Super League, with the team winning its third straight league championship. He played the full 90 minutes in each of those 28 games.
Guangzhou also won the AFC Champions League, the top club competition in Asia, and represented the continent at the FIFA Club World Cup, where it has a third-place match next week.
Hong, a former defensive back in his playing days, said Kim has reached a point where he has to rest.
“Based on my experience, you have to take it easy at some point,” Hong said. “It may seem like there are no issues now. But when you miss the chance to take some rest, you’re bound to experience some problems later.”
Kim has started the last six friendly matches for South Korea, and eight of 10 matches overall under Hong.
South Korea will stay in Brazil and the U.S. for about three weeks to kick off its preparations for the World Cup.
South Korea is slated to face Costa Rica, Mexico and the U.S. in friendly matches between Jan. 25 and Feb. 1 in California and Texas. (Yonhap News)
Hong seeks to help others
South Korean men’s national football head coach Hong Myung-bo said Thursday he cherishes the opportunity to help underprivileged children as he gears up for another annual charity match this holiday season.
At a press conference in Seoul, Hong unveiled the star-studded lineups for the contest titled “Share the Dream Football Match.” It will take place at Jamsil Indoor Gymnasium on Dec. 29 and proceeds from the game will go toward treating young cancer patients.
The match will pit a team of All-Stars from the domestic K League Classic, named “Hope,” against a squad of players plying their trade in overseas leagues, called “Love.”
Hong will be the head coach for the Love team. The lineup features Son Heung-min, a dynamic forward for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, and three others playing in the top German league: midfielder Koo Ja-cheol of VfL Wolfsburg, defender Hong Jeong-ho of FC Augsburg and wingback Park Joo-ho of Mainz 05.
The defense will also feature Kim Young-gwon of Guangzhou Evergrande in China and Kim Jin-su of Albirex Niigata in Japan.
The Hope squad will be coached by Kim Tae-young, who is an assistant on the senior national team under Hong. Kim Shin-wook, the reigning K League Classic MVP for Ulsan Hyundai, will headline the roster. Kim will be joined by Jong Tae-se, the North Korean striker for Suwon Bluewings, and Lee Keun-ho of the military club Sangju Sangmu.
Hong and his own scholarship foundation first organized the charity event in 2003. Over the past decade, the event has developed into a holiday staple in the domestic sports scene, thanks to Hong’s clout as the former national team captain and participation by who’s who of Korean football. (Yonhap News)