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Skillful midfielder eyes gold in her 1st Asian Games

Aug. 6, 2018 - 19:08 By Yonhap

South Korea women's national football team midfielder Lee Min-a said Monday she is eager to win gold at the upcoming Asian Games. 

Lee, who plays for Japan’s INAC Kobe Leonessa, is one of the 20 players who will compete in the women‘s football competition at the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games in Indonesia. It will be her first appearance at an Asiad since she started representing the country in 2012.

South Korea women`s national football team midfielder Lee Min-a (Yonhap)

“It’s always an honor to represent my country,” Lee said to reporters at the National Football Center (NFC) in Paju, north of Seoul, ahead of training. “I felt lots of things after watching the last Incheon Asian Games. Since this is my first Asian Games, I really want to win a gold medal.”

The Taeguk Ladies have yet to win a gold medal in women‘s football at the Asian Games. They took bronze medals in the last two editions of the Asiad.

“You always want to win a gold medal at a competition, and we’ll work hard to win it,” she said.

Lee, who has 11 goals in 45 caps, is expected to lead South Korea‘s attack with her vision and technique. Lee emphasized that she is not the attacking ace of the team.

“We have many good forwards on our team,” she said. “My job is to help them and that will lead us to get good results.”

The women’s football tournament at this year‘s Asian Games features 11 teams. South Korea are in Group A with Indonesia, Taiwan and Maldives.

North Korea, the defending champions and winners of three of the past four gold medals, are in Group B with China, Hong Kong and Tajikistan. Group C only has three countries: Japan, Vietnam and Thailand.

The top three nations from Groups A and B, and the top two from Group C will advance to the quarterfinals.

Lee said she really wants to beat Japan at the Asian Games this time. The two teams played to a scoreless draw at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup in April.

“We have confidence and we‘re also mentally ready that we can beat them this time,” she said.

When asked about hot weather in Indonesia, Lee said it will not be a big problem.

“It’s something related with our mental strength,” she said.

“If we‘re playing under scorching heat that means our opponents are competing under the same condition. I already experienced hot weather in Japan, and my teammates are saying that South Korea is hotter than Indonesia.” (Yonhap)