The Korea Football Association said its national team support unit, comprising three members, began a weeklong inspection of training and lodging facilities in Russia last week. They will travel to 11 cities and check 12 stadiums before returning home Saturday, it added.
The KFA reportedly received information on 70 potential training bases from the World Cup organizers. The KFA plans to inspect all candidate sites before it submits a shortlist of 10 training camps to the organizers.
The South Korean inspection team is also scheduled to visit Russia in October and November. After the group draw takes place in Moscow on Dec. 1 and match venues are determined, the KFA will finalize the training camp for the Taeguk Warriors, who will make their ninth consecutive World Cup appearance in Russia.
|This file photo taken Sept. 5, 2017, shows South Korea national football team players celebrating at Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent after they confirm a spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. (Yonhap)|
“We’re currently inspecting various places,” said Park Il-ki, who leads the KFA inspection team. “Since we have to compete against other teams (to secure good training facilities), we can‘t really say much about our work at this moment.”
Selecting a training base is considered one of the most important tasks in the national team’s preparations for the top FIFA competition, since it can influence the players’ performance.
At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, South Korea, then led by head coach Hong Myung-bo, picked Foz do Iguacu as the team’s base. Korea ended up traveling a combined 5,151 kilometers during the group stage, the longest of any team in Group H, which also featured Belgium, Algeria and Russia. The team suffered a group stage exit with one draw and two losses.
Travel distance is likely to be a key element for the national team’s current World Cup preparations, since match venues are spread out across Russia. Local pundits say the KFA should select a training camp that is close to a city with an international airport and has good weather conditions.
Meanwhile, the South Korean national team players and their head coach Shin Tae-yong will also have a chance to look around Russia before the World Cup. They‘re scheduled to face the Russians in a friendly at VEB Arena in Moscow on Oct. 7. (Yonhap)