‘Born in 1999 confirmed to participate’ Director Hwang Seon-hong’s firm message “AG entry, only competitiveness is the standard”
“Regardless of my age, I will only think about the team and choose.”
Hwang Seon-hong (55), head coach of the under-23 national team, was adamant. In 2023, the most important schedule on the Korean football calendar is the Hangzhou Asian Games. The Hangzhou Asian Games, which were postponed for a year due to the Corona 19 issue, will be held on September 23. The age of participation, which drew attention, was confirmed as being born in 1999. Originally, Asian Games men’s soccer is played by players under the age of 23, excluding three wild cards. However, the Asian Games Organizing Committee confirmed that he was born in 1999, the original age of participation, rather than 2000, as the tournament was postponed. It seems to have followed the precedent of the Tokyo Olympics, which was also postponed for a year.
The participation age has been set, and coach Hwang’s preparation for the Asian Games has begun in earnest. From the 14th, starting with Tongyeong, where the 59th Spring Collegiate Football Federation Tournament is being held, coa
ch Hwang started going back and forth to K-League 1, Namhae and Changwon, where the two teams continue field training. Head coach Hwang, who is aiming for three consecutive gold medals in Korean soccer, has a clear will. It is the ‘strongest team’.
Director Hwang said, “I was born in 1999 and the age to participate has been set, but I will not limit it to this. Regardless of age, I will only look at competitiveness and choose.” There is a reason why director Hwang threw a message early. Members born in 1999 wrote the legend of the 2019 Poland U-20 World Cup runner-up. I had no doubt that it would be the future of Korean football, but the reality is different. It is not well established and is showing slow growth. The K-League’s mandatory participation rule for players under the age of 22 does not apply, and it is gradually losing its place. Director Hwang said, “The current condition, motivation, and the members at the time have become ambiguous. They say that the Asian Games are desperate, but it is questionable whether they will be able to compete with a few exceptions. They are into mannerisms. You shouldn’t do this.” he said bitterly.
The same goes for other 1999 born. There are quite a few players whose opportunities to participate in the last season, which were not applied to the U-22 rule, were significantly reduced. One of the biggest motivators of the Asian Games is the military issue, and the recent rush of young players to enlist in the military is also a concern. Among the core resources, there are quite a few players who have solved or are doing military issues. Therefore, the criterion set is ‘competitiveness’. Neither age nor whether or not you have a military service are considered. Only players who play in the competition may be selected. Coach Hwang said, “I will unconditionally select a player who has shown his ability in my team. Any player who plays a lot in my team, shows competitiveness, and is a resource that can be reborn as an original team when he comes to our team, doesn’t matter. As long as he is not over 24 years old, all Everyone can be a candidate,” he said.
Director Hwang is putting a lot of effort into recruiting overseas players. Europeans born in 1999, Jung Woo-young (Freiburg) and Hong Hyeon-seok (Ghent) were able to participate in the tournament. In addition, there are Lee Kang-in (Mallorca), who was pointed out as the ace of the Asian Games team early on, and Oh Hyun-kyu (Celtic) Jeong Sang-bin (Grasshopper). Director Hwang said, “Once, we have inquired about the recruitment-related part of the association. If necessary, we intend to go directly to the clubs and negotiate with them.” Director Hwang’s clock toward the Asian Games is speeding up.