Ki Sung-yueng added to national football team
In a press conference yesterday, Hong announced his squad for the coming matches, and Ki was included on the national team roster for the first time since March 26, when he played in the World Cup qualification-round game against Qatar.
Hong included most of the players playing in European leagues, including “Sonsation” Son Heung-min, forward for Bayer Leverkusen, midfielder Kim Bo-kyung of Cardiff City, midfielder Lee Chung-yong of Bolton Wanderers, forward Ji Dong-won, a teammate of Ki, and Koo Ja-cheol of VfL Wolfsburg.
However, striker Park Chu-young of Arsenal was not included again.
“I met Ki when I went to the U.K. to see how players in the English Premier League are doing,” Hong told reporters. “I was able to see Ki regretting his [social media] misbehavior and his physical condition is getting better. Now he needs to show he is worthy for the country in front of the fans.”
Ki came under fire in July over private Facebook messages he wrote that mocked former national football team manager Choi Kang-hee. A football columnist disclosed Ki’s hidden Facebook account, where the 24-year-old star apparently taunted Choi.
Under Korea Football Association rules regarding player ethics and behavior, a player judged by the disciplinary committee to have brought disgrace upon or caused a rift within the national team can be subject to a multiple-year ban or even expulsion from the local football community.
“The October games against Brazil and Mali are very important for the team to prepare well for the World Cup,” Hong said. “I already had said that I wanted to have a strong squad against Brazil because they are coming with their best squad as well.”
Earlier this week, Brazil said that they would likely play their best players against Korea, including FC Barcelona’s star forward Neymar.
Hong left FC Seoul midfielder Ha Dae-sung off the roster this time despite impressive performance in previous friendlies because he thought Ha needed time to recover.
“He looked tired when I saw some of his recent games,” Hong said. “He also has the Asian Champions League games and another game against the Suwon Bluewings on Oct. 9.”
BY KWON Sang-soo, KIm hwan [firstname.lastname@example.org]