Coach Hwang Sun-hong (55) hopes that ‘golden talent’ Lee Kang-in (22-PSG) will join the team before the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games. That’s the best-case scenario. However, the worst-case scenario of Lee not playing in the Asian Games group stage is looking increasingly likely.
“It’s frustrating,” Hwang said several times during an interview with reporters at the National Training Center (NFC) in Paju on Thursday. There are only four days left until the first match of the Asian Games, and he doesn’t know when the team’s ace Lee Kang-in will join the team. “Lee Kang-in wants to join the team as soon as possible, but it seems that the timing is not coordinated with his club PSG,” said Hwang Sun-hong.
The team will open its Asian Games group stage against Kuwait on Aug. 19. They will face Thailand on Nov. 21 and Bahrain on Nov. 24. All three games will be played at the Jinhua Sports Center Stadium in Zhejiang, China. Objectively speaking, South Korea has the best record. However, all three of their opponents are a force to be reckoned with. The addition of Lee Kang-in would be a huge boost.
It would be nice to know when Lee Kang-in will join the team, but even that is uncertain, which makes Hwang Sun-hong’s heart burn even more. He has to think about different situations, such as when Lee Kang-in plays and when he doesn’t play. It’s not easy to plan a game plan in advance to match the opponent. There’s also the matter of Lee’s chemistry with his teammates. “I would like to see him in the tournament for one or two group games, but if he comes in after that, it can be frustrating because we have to come up with different plans,” said Hwang Sun-hong.
As a result, the club had to prepare for the “worst-case scenario” of not playing in the group stage due to Lee’s delayed arrival. After the A-League break, PSG will return to action on Nov. 16 against OGC Nice. According to head coach Hwang Sun-hong, Lee Kang-in will not play against Nice as he recovers his fitness. Lee suffered a left thigh injury last month. He’s almost recovered, but PSG won’t push him too hard.
However, the next few games are more important for PSG. PSG will host Dortmund (Germany) in the first leg of the Champions League group stage on October 20, followed by “rivals” Marseille in the sixth round of the league on October 25. There’s a chance that Lee could play both of these games before heading to the Asian Games.
In that case, he could join the team from the round of 16 tournament. Even then, it won’t be easy for him to play. Unlike his teammates in Changwon and Paju, Lee won’t have as much time to get his feet wet. Considering the PSG game and the travel time, Lee’s condition is also a concern. The round of 16 doesn’t start until the 27th, which means we won’t be able to use him until the quarterfinals.
Since the Asian Games and the Olympics are not organized by FIFA, teams are not obliged to send their players, so Lee needs the permission of his club, PSG. 메이저놀이터
PSG is reportedly willing to discuss sending Lee to the Asian Games until the Asian Cup in Qatar next January. However, the Asian Cup is the domain of Jürgen Klinsmann’s A team. “I think we’ll have to have a lot of discussions with Klinsmann,” said Hwang, who emphasized that “we’ve done that before. PSG is trying to take advantage of us in many ways.”
He also said, “PSG is putting forward a lot of conditions. I hope the negotiations go well and I can join them sooner rather than later.”