Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Experience and fitness for Koreans..

THE South Koreans will rely on experience and fitness in the World League Semi-finals starting in Johor Baru on Saturday.
  After finishing second to Argentina in the Champions Challenge, the Koreans left behind three players as they played in tournaments and Tours, but have included them back into the squad to inject experience.
  The highly experienced and deadly trio are Lee Nam Yong, Jang Jong Hyun and Oh Dae Keun -- all three of whom were missing from the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup where Malaysia beat them 3-2.
   While Nam Yong and and Dae Keun joined the team after their commitments in the Dutch League, Jong Hyun was a late inclusion, only joining the squad after their Tour of Australia and New Zealand.
   Jong Hyun is an ace penalty corner flicker and has a total of 197 international caps while Nam Yong has 206 to his credit and Dae Keun 104.
  Nam Yong is best known for his goal seven seconds from time against Ireland in the Olympic Qualifiers in Dublin last year that saw Korea make it to London Olympics.
  "We are a better side now compared to the Azlan Shah Cup (bronze finish) as the inclusion of these three players has added depth into the squad and we are more balanced," said South Korean coach Shin Seok Kyo.
   "While Nam Yong and Dae Keun joined us in Perth, we decided to include Jong Hyun after the New Zealand matches.
   "We are a more balanced side now and while consistency is a factor, it is two matches that will decide the fate of all eight teams here in Johor Baru."
   Shin said that the quarter-finals and semis are two matches that are vital and the group matches will just be sparring sessions for teams as they plan their way into the knockout stages.
   "The focus of every team would be on the knock-out matches, and ours is no different," said Shin.
  With the haze clearing fast as the tournament day nears, the Korean coach had another complaint, that the the fixtures were rather unfair to teams in Group A which made up of Germany, South Korea, Japan and Argentina.
   "We play all our matches in the early afternoons and it can get pretty hot here in Malaysia. So there should have been some matches at night for us. But then again I guess we cannot complain much as fitness is our forte and we can capitalise on this," added Shin.
  In Group B are Malaysia, England, South Africa and Pakistan.