In football, a final roster for Asian Games

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In football, a final roster for Asian Games

The U-23 Asian Games squad managed to improve its offense with the addition of AS Monaco forward Park Chu-young, as the U-23 national football team manager Hong Myung-bo announced his final 20-man roster at a press conference on Friday.

“We have bolstered our offense with the inclusion of Park Chu-young,” Hong said. “I’m happy to be able to compete at the Asian Games with him.”

The Asian Games are reserved for players under the age of 23 but managers are allowed three exceptions or wildcard players over the age limit. Hong had been targeting Park to strengthen his offense but the 25-year-old forward’s inclusion on the team looked doubtful with AS Monaco officials reluctant to allow Park to participate in the non-FIFA sanctioned event.

However, Park is said to have convinced his club officials on the grounds that he would be exempted from his two-year mandatory military service if Korea manages to win a gold medal at the Asian Games.

Coming off a successful season in which he scored eight goals and added three assists, Park has scored one goal in six Ligue 1 games so far this season. Park had been linked to several English Premier League clubs leading up to and after the 2010 World Cup. He will likely partner with Chunnam rookie forward Ji Dong-won at the Asian Games.

Kim Jung-woo, 28, of Gwangju Sangmu, was the other wildcard player selected to the team. The rangy midfielder, known for his energetic and defensive play, earned significant playing time at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Hong had tabbed goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong - who started all four of Korea’s games at the 2010 World Cup - but could not include him on the squad because of Seongnam Ilhwa’s reluctance to release the player. Other notable names on the squad are Celtic FC midfielder Ki Sung-yueng and 2009 Egypt U-20 World Cup members Koo Ja-cheol and Kim Bo-kyung.

The U-23 national team will gather for training on Oct. 24 and will start their pre-Asian Games training session in Okinawa, Japan on Oct. 27.

The women’s U-23 manager Choi In-chul also announced his final 20-member roster on the same day. Having led the U-20 squad to the semifinals before losing to the eventual winners Germany in July, Choi was promoted to coach the U-23 squad and elected to retain several of his players from his U-20 team. Five players from the U-20 team were included, including Ji So-yun, Kim Na-rae, Moon So-ri, Kwon Eun-som and Kim Hye-ri.

By Choi Won-chang, Jason Kim []

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