Maradona to visit Korea for FIFA U-20 Cup drawing
Diego Maradona will visit Korea next week to attend the draw for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the local organizing committee said Wednesday.
The Korean organizers said FIFA has confirmed that Maradona and another Argentine great, Pablo Aimar, will participate in the draw for the U-20 World Cup in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, next Wednesday.
“We are very pleased to announce that two of the biggest stars from the history of the FIFA U-20 World Cup will take part in the draw for this year’s competition,” FIFA and the local organizers said in a release. “This will be a fantastic inspiration for the football stars of the future and the fans who will come together in the Republic of Korea two months from now.”
The U-20 World Cup, featuring 24 teams, will be played from May 20 to June 11 in six Korean cities: Cheonan, Daejeon, Incheon, Jeju, Jeonju and Suwon.
Both Maradona and Aimar are winners of the U-20 World Cup, Maradona in 1979 and Aimar in 1997.
This will be Maradona’s first visit to Korea since 1995, when he played in a friendly match for the Boca Juniors against the South Korean national football team.
The 56-year-old, regarded one of the greatest players in football history, said he has big expectations for the U-20 World Cup.
“It is with great emotion that I will travel to the Republic of Korea to take part in the draw,” Maradona told FIFA.com. “The U-20 World Cup is the pinnacle for every young player and hopefully this year we will see the Maradonas and Aimars of the future.”
Korea to host Russia in men’s match next week
Korea will host world No. 2 Russia in men’s hockey friendly matches next week, the sport’s national federation said Thursday.
The Korea Ice Hockey Association (KIHA) said Korea, No. 23, will face a Russian team of mostly players under 25 on March 18 and 19.
Both games will take place at Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung, Gangwon, a brand-new rink that will host hockey competitions for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
Korea, coached by former Stanley Cup-winning defenseman Jim Paek, recently won a silver medal at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, its best result ever at the continental competition.
The country has fast-tracked North American-born players to Korean passports in hopes of boosting its competitiveness before its Olympic debut on home ice next year.
Korea will face Canada, the two-time reigning Olympic champion, along with the Czech Republic and Switzerland in the preliminary round.
The KIHA said Russia could only call up young prospects in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), with more established stars playing in the KHL playoffs.
The National Hockey League (NHL) players are in the midst of their regular season.