Nat’l football team to start Asian Cup training next month in Ulsan
SEOUL, South Korea will start training for an upcoming continental football tournament in a port city in the country's southeast next month, the national football governing body said Monday.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) said the men's national football team will be assembled on Dec. 11 in Ulsan and will train for the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup, which is scheduled to kick off in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Jan. 5. The team, led by head coach Paulo Bento, will depart for the UAE on Dec. 22, the KFA added.
Typically, the KFA calls up national players two weeks ahead of the tournament, but it recently spoke with the K League, the operator of the country's pro football league, to allow local clubs to release their players early for the national team. The 2018 K League campaign officially ends on Dec. 9.
In this file photo, taken Nov. 18, 2018, South Korea national football team players and coaches gather in circle ahead of training at Perry Park in Brisbane, Australia. (Yonhap)
The KFA said it expects to announce the roster for the Ulsan training camp on Dec. 10. The players will then start training at Ulsan Sports Complex.
Europe-based players, such as Son Heung-min and Ki Sung-yueng, and those who are with Middle Eastern clubs, will not participate in training in Ulsan, the KFA said. But the national team will train with players from the K League, as well as those at Chinese and Japanese clubs.
Bento will announce his final roster for the Asian Cup before departing for the UAE, meaning the Ulsan training camp will be the last opportunity for domestic league-based players to make their case for squad selection.
In the UAE, Bento's side will set up their training camp in Abu Dhabi and will play against Saudi Arabia on Dec. 31 for their final tuneup match before entering the Asian Cup.
South Korea are looking for their first continental title since 1960. The Taeguk Warriors are in Group C with China, Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines at the 2019 Asian Cup.
Source: Yonhap News Agency