While Hwang Sun-hong is cruising to gold, we caught up with Song Min-gyu (24, Jeonbuk), who has yet to play a game. He’s ready to go, and now he’s got his sights set on the goal.
The Korean Asian Games team, led by Hwang Sun-hong, kicked off training at 8 p.m. ET on Aug. 23 at Jinhua No. 1 Middle School in Jinhua, China.
Hwang Sun-hong’s side, which secured first place in Group E with a 9-0 win over Kuwait in the first match and a 4-0 win over Thailand in the second, will play Bahrain in the third match at the Jinhua Sports Center Stadium on Sept. 24.
Speaking to reporters before the start of training, Song Min-kyu was asked about Hwang Sun-hong. He had spoken with the coach separately during training on the 22nd. “First of all, the coach asked me about my physical condition, so I told him that I’ve almost recovered without any pain,” Song said.
“He also asked me if I could play in the next game, so I said yes. We had this conversation,” he added.
Captains Baek Seung-ho and Park Jin-seop, who started both the first and second games, played well. Their teammate Song Min-kyu, who plays for Jeonbuk Hyundai, did not play a single game due to injury. “Of course, I was very eager to play from the first game,” he said, “but I was also very disappointed that I wasn’t in good shape. I wanted to play again in the second game, but when I talked to him, he said that he wanted me to play in full physical condition and not overdo it, so I watched the game with more patience.”
Song Min-gyu said, “I kept thinking that if my body gets better and I get to play again, our players are doing a good job, so I have to adapt to that.”
“The coach’s demands for our strikers are firm, such as movement in the back and decisiveness, so I don’t have any worries because I’ve been adjusting to them since before in Korea,” said Song Min-gyu, who insisted that he was able to play right away despite missing the first and second games.
In the first game of the tournament, Jung Woo-young and Cho Young-wook scored hat tricks and multi-goal games respectively. In the second game, Uhm Won-sang also tasted goal. Not greedy. Song Min-kyu said, “Of course, if you’re a striker, you have to have the desire and confidence to score goals. If I get to play another game, I will definitely do my best to score a goal. I will try to continue this good mood and do better.”
Coach Hwang Sun-hong has repeatedly emphasized “composure. He was so adamant after the 9-0 win in Game 1 that he said, “There is no such thing as this game.” How is the team feeling now that they have clinched first place in the group?
Song Min-kyu said, “We’re not excited about finishing first in the group. We haven’t reached our goal yet. We are still in the process, so each game is very important to us and we always think of it as a final. The players also talked to each other before the Bahrain game about how we have already qualified for the round of 16, but we need to play with a winning mentality, and the coach has reinforced that.”
“Of course, the mood is good, but we will prepare well for the next game,” he added.
Hwang Sun-hong scored 13 goals in two games without Song Min-gyu. “I was very disappointed that I didn’t get to play,” Song said, “but it’s not like I can play just because I want to, and we came here with one goal, which is to win another gold medal. It would be great if I could play, but even if I couldn’t, I did my best to support the team from the sidelines. The players showed that on the field, so we will shake off the disappointment and do even better.”
Hwang also emphasized the importance of communication between the players and the coaching staff and between the players and the manager. “The coach always listens to the players, and not only the coach, but all of our coaching staff respect the players’ opinions. In terms of set pieces, offense, etc., the coach listens to what the players want, and he keeps asking them and tries to keep talking to them,” he said, emphasizing that there is good communication.
“The wild card brothers (Baek Seung-ho, Park Jin-seop, and Seol Young-woo) have been collecting opinions from our younger players and talking to the manager and coaching staff,” Song said.
Song Min-kyu was one of the players most often seen joking around with Lee Kang-in, who joined the team 21 days later. “He asked me why I kept playing instead of working out, and I said, ‘I’m not playing, my brother is sick.’…I was just joking around with him about that. He said, ‘Come back soon,’ and ‘Play a game soon,’ so I’m trying to get in good shape. I’m having fun,” he said.
What is the difference between Baek Seung-ho and Hwang Sun-hong’s captain, Baek Seung-ho, in the eyes of the team? “Seung-ho is a captain from Jeonbuk. I’ve seen him play a lot with the captain’s armband, so I’m not unfamiliar with him.” 토토사이트
“I’ve always been familiar with him, but he’s a little different when he’s here than when he was in Jeonbuk. When I was in Jeonbuk, I was still a little stronger and sometimes angry. But here, because we are so young, he listens to the players’ opinions and adjusts everything rather than getting angry. I think Seung-ho is doing a good job in this role,” he explained.
On the second day of training on the 18th, the weather in Jinhua reached 37℃ even at 8pm when the sun went down. Recently, however, the weather has started to cool down dramatically, and by the time the team trained on the 23rd, it was a cool 24°C. “In a way, it can be a good thing,” says Song, “because all the teams have the same conditions. We came here thinking it would be really hot. Now it’s a little chilly, so I think it’s working in our favor in terms of the weather.”