With China hosting the Hangzhou Asian Games and two away trials this month, Hwang Sun-hong’s squad is facing a battle for survival up front.
Hwang Sun-hong, 55, head coach of the Asian Games soccer team, called up three long strikers who can be categorized as target men in his June call-up: Chun Sung-hoon (Incheon), Ahn Jae-joon (Bucheon) and Park Jae-yong (Anyang).
All three are proven goal scorers in the K League.
After returning from the German Bundesliga, Chun was named the K League 1 April Young Player of the Month after scoring three goals in four games in April, while Ahn and Park burst onto the scene in K League 2 with six goals (tied for second) and five goals (tied for fourth), respectively. This compares to the reality that most players in their age group struggle to get playing time for their clubs.
If we look at his recent performances, Ahn is a step ahead of the pack, not only in terms of goals, but also in terms of assists (3).
In particular, Ahn tasted goal against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in November last year in the Hwangsun Hongho, and he also made his mark in the Doha Cup in March, opening the scoring for Oman and the UAE.
It’s interesting to note that Ahn, who is one step ahead of the game, is not relaxing, saying that he needs to “play better”. He’s determined to prove himself once again in the two exhibition games against China on the 15th and 19th, but he’s also aware of the invisible competition from overseas and wild cards.
That’s because the list of players who have been called up to the squad is long. National goalkeeper Oh Hyun-kyu, who won three trophies in half a year with Celtic in Scotland, is the first choice, while Oh Oh-hoon (Shimizu) is also eligible for the Asian Games.
The catch is that both players have already completed their military service with the Korean Armed Forces Athletic Corps, so it’s hard to know if their teams will allow them to play in the Asian Games. If they are denied, a wild card could be used.먹튀검증
Hwang’s options will likely depend on the June results. If the trials confirm the competitiveness of the existing three players, the wildcard could be used for a position other than frontline striker. The defense line, in particular, has a lot of resources that may not play for their clubs.
“Up front is a position with a lot of variables,” says Hwang, “so we’re considering a wildcard. We’re looking at about 10 players, including other positions. We have plenty of time to decide on the final roster, so we’ll be cautious.”