DOHA– After sitting out practices the past two days, South Korean starting center back Kim Min-jae rejoined the team’s training camp for the FIFA World Cup on Sunday, the eve of their second group stage match against Ghana.
Kim picked up a right calf muscle injury during the second half of South Korea’s first match last Thursday against Uruguay. He stayed on to finish the match and said afterward he didn’t think his injury was serious.
However, Kim was held out of training sessions on Friday and Saturday to receive treatment on his leg. National team officials have insisted Kim’s condition was not severe, though it wasn’t immediately clear if the Napoli defender will be available against Ghana.
South Korea opened only the first 15 minutes of their official “Match Day-1” session at Al Egla Training Site. During that small window, Kim was riding a stationary bicycle, under the watchful eye of the national team sports scientist, Woo Jeong-ha.
Kim is hands down the best defender for South Korea. He earned the Player of the Month honor for September in Serie A in his first campaign with Napoli and is widely regarded as one of the top center backs in Europe. An absence of any length by the 26-year-old will spell doom for South Korea as they chase a knockout berth in Qatar.
South Korea held Uruguay to a scoreless draw in the opener, and they see Ghana as the one beatable team in Group H, with world No. 9 Portugal being their final opponent Friday.
On a more positive bit of injury-related news, midfielder Hwang Hee-chan was once again a full participant in training Sunday. He had been dealing with hamstring issues and was not available against Uruguay, but he appears to be inching toward a return to action.
The Ghana match kicks off at 4 p.m. Monday at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, just west of Doha.
Source: Yonhap News Agency