Updated August. 06, 2014 06:16
With the 2014 Incheon Asian Games fast approaching, head coach Lee Kwang-jong of the U-23 national team has made a firm guideline of what his team should look like. He said, "Our team will be colored with the spirit of sacrifice." His remarks also send a warning to players in the candidates group as he is ready to select the final 20 entry members by August 15. No player is in the safety zone.
Korean people have high expectations on the Asian Games football team. They look forward to the team`s first gold medal in 28 years since the 1986 Seoul Asian Games. The pressure on the national team is especially high as it faces the aftereffects of poor performance at the Brazil World Cup a month ago.
Coach Lee plans to make the teams` strength to the utmost of its power. To do so, having Bayer Leverkusen left-forward Son Heung-min join the team is crucial. The coach said, "There is a 50 percent chance," adding, "Leverkusen has said that it can`t send Son to both the Asian Games and the Asian Cup in January next year. Further discussions are needed."
Lee`s plan for the three wild cards (players over 24 years old) is finalized. Lee said, "I made up my mind on two, and have yet to decide the third." Wild card candidates include Kim Shin-wook who took active part in the World Cup, Lee Yong, Park Ju-ho and midfielder Lee Myung-joo who was in the preliminary entry member for the World Cup. Brazil World Cup star and goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu has also potential. The two players Lee has already decided are field players.
Lee started his leadership career in 2000 as coach for juvenile soccer team at the Korean Football Association. Since then, he has experienced various games as coach for different age groups. He is known for raising the players` concentration skills. In preparation for possible defense play by competing Asian teams, Lee has set up two to three simple attack patterns. Lee takes away the players` mobile phones and laptop computers at 10:30 every night. The rule will also be applied for the Asian Games this year. Why? "This is the very basic rule. It`s time to sleep and you don`t need it," he said.
Lee wants to grab the Asian crown this year and this starts from return to the basics and a strong mindset.