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Coaches agree to reach beneficial solution on roster problems

March 2, 2011 - 18:44 By Ethen Lieser
The head coaches of South Korea‘s senior and U23 men’s national football teams agreed on Wednesday to work toward a mutually beneficial solution to the problem of recalling young players for international matches.

Cho Kwang-rae, the coach of the senior squad, and Hong Myung-bo, who coaches the U23 team for the Olympics and the Asian Games, sat down Wednesday, along with other football officials, to discuss building their respective rosters for international contests.

At the core of the problem is bringing in young players who are eligible for the U23 team and who have also starred at the senior level in the recent past. The South Korean football calendar this year will have some scheduling conflicts between the two levels.

After an hour-long meeting held behind closed doors, Cho said there‘s little to worry about, adding, “Coach Hong and I agreed that we can all help each other.”

Added Hong: “We formed a consensus that we should go in a direction that’s beneficial for both sides.”

The meeting between the two coaches was convened after the Korea Football Association, the national governing body of the sport, determined in mid-February that the senior team would be granted priority in selecting players who are under 23 years old if games for the senior and U23 teams are closely scheduled with each other.

In 2011, two Asian qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup are scheduled for Nov. 11 and 15, while two 2012 London Olympics qualification matches are set for Nov. 23 and 27. There are also several international friendly matches scheduled between June and October.

As South Korean football undergoes a changing of guards, the senior team has relied on several players who are still in their early 20s and who will be eligible for the 2012 London Olympics. 

(Yonhap News)