South Korea's under-20 national football team head coach Shin Tae-yong said Tuesday he believes that Argentine football legend Diego Maradona provided "positive energy" to his team ahead of the group draw for the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Shin joined Maradona and Argentine football star Pablo Aimar to play a special 5-on-5 mini football match at Hwaseong Haenggung Palace in Suwon, some 30 kilometers south of Seoul, to promote the U-20 World Cup. South Korea is the host of the U-20 World Cup that will be played from May 20 to June 11 in six cities: Cheonan, Daejeon, Incheon, Jeju, Jeonju and Suwon.
Shin, who previously led South Korea at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics, was on the same team with Maradona in a special match. The 46-year-old coach said he enjoyed playing alongside football greats like Maradona and Aimar.
"It was really fun," Shin said. "Some of our U-20 players also played with them (Maradona and Aimar), and I'm sure it was great time for them, too."
The match was played one day ahead of the draw for the U-20 World Cup. Both Maradona and Aimar will help draw the balls at the event, where 24 teams will be divided into six groups of four and find out their opponents.
As the host, South Korea has been automatically dropped into the A1 slot, meaning the country will be in Group A. South Korea has avoided powerhouses in the group stage as the team will not be drawn into the same group with Portugal, Uruguay, France, the United States and Germany, as they are all in Pot 1.
Shin said he thinks Maradona and Aimar's visit will provide good luck to the hosts.
"I'm sure we received some kind of positive energy from the great footballers," he said. "We'll find out how it will turn out at the group draw."
The Asian Football Confederation Champions League-winning coach said he was impressed by how Maradona entertained fans here with his excessive reactions. Aimar was also friendly with South Korean fans, taking selfies and signing autographs after the event.
"I know there are some cultural differences, but I was shocked that they really know how to enjoy the event with fans," he said.
"Here, a top star can't really show that kind of reaction to amuse fans. Maradona really entertained people here."
Shin said he learned from Maradona that he should be approach his players with an open mind to help them enjoy football.
"As I learned from Maradona today, I think I should be friendlier to our players," he said. "I should approach our players first, so that they can feel more comfortable." (Yonhap)