SPORTS

Korea looking to call-up China-based footballers early for World Cup qualifiers

By Alex Park
  • Published : Aug 1, 2017 - 10:20
  • Updated : Aug 1, 2017 - 10:20

New South Korea football coach Shin Tae-yong is looking to call up China-based national players early for upcoming World Cup qualifiers as he plans to visit the neighboring country later this week.

Shin, who took the helm of the men's senior squad last month, will travel to China with his assistant Kim Nam-il on Friday to check on the South Korean players there, according to a Korea Football Association official Tuesday. The 46-year-old head coach will watch the Chinese Super League match between Guangzhou Evergrande and Tianjin Teda on Saturday, which may feature South Korean defenders Kim Young-gwon for Guangzhou and Hwang Seok-ho for Tianjin.

After the match, Shin will meet the players and discuss early national team call-ups.

South Korea national football team head coach Shin Tae-yong speaks to reporters ahead of the K League CEO workshop in Seoul on July 28, 2017. (Yonhap)
Shin's side last week received approval from the South Korean pro football league office that it can summon the national players one week earlier than scheduled. With the K League's greenlight, the national team will be able to start training Aug. 21. Shin will announce his first national team roster Aug. 14.

The CSL will take an international break after Aug. 20 as China also needs to prepare for their World Cup qualifiers. Both South Korea and China are in Group A in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

"Although we have yet to make an official request to the Chinese Football Association, South Korean players can join the national team training starting Aug. 21 if they can get approval from their clubs," a KFA official said. "Previously, former Guangzhou R&F player Jang Hyun-soo joined the national team early ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Qatar."

South Korea are scheduled to host Iran on Aug. 31 and face Uzbekistan in Tashkent on Sept. 5 for the finale. The Taeguk Warriors are currently holding on to the final automatic qualification spot with 13 points, sitting just one point up on Uzbekistan in second place in Group A.

In Asia, the top two teams from Groups A and B can advance directly to the World Cup in Russia. Two third-place teams must go through a playoffs for their final chance.

Shin previously said he will pick more than 10 players from the South Korea's K League, but if CSL-based national players are available for early call-ups, he may bring more players from China, such as winger Hwang Il-soo, defender Kim Kee-hee, and midfielders Jung Woo-young and Kwon Kyung-won. (Yonhap)