I can’t believe it’s 2015. Where were the jetpacks we were promised? Anyway, the year kicks off with a bang: Korean football and Uli Stielike’s first big test as they delve right into the Asia Cup tournament in Australia. Team Korea won the first 2 cups (1956 and 1960) but while they’ve gotten close, haven’t won the tourney since. Military exemption is not on the table, but there’s still so much to play for. Join the Tavern writers on our newest podcast adventure as we examine the current crop of players representing the Taeguk Warriors before their first match on January 10th (and a test friendly with Saudi Arabia Jan 4). And don’t forget to check out Jae’s 2014 in review – a stellar post of the top 14 events– the good, the bad…and the yeots. On to the podcast – click on the link below
Note: this is an experimental wordpress podcast app we’re using. Please let us know if it’s working well or not and we’ll adjust accordingly. Stay tuned, we have another podcast on the way – turning attention to the other teams in the competition as we continue to preview the 2015 Asia Cup down under.
During the podcast, the writers put out their proposed starting XI. Here’s what they look like.
This is Jae’s proposed XI
Evelyn’s starting XI
Takeuchi wasn’t able to join us but his proposed XI
and finally the Old Tavern Owner’s proposed XI
Keep in mind, most if not all of the writers feel Uli should do the right thing and rotate the players – so the group stage lineups should look largely different in the knockout rounds should Korea advance. With players like Ki just arriving after playing a ton of games during the festive season – further exhausting him among others could lead to spectacularly damning results.
extra time: we’ll probably sort this further in a separate post at the Tavern – but some of you already heard that Barcelona lost their appeal to CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) before the new year and as such, the original FIFA ruling on consecutive transfer bans will stand, beginning today. At the heart of this penalty to Barca is several youth players who, according to FIFA, breached technical transfer rules regarding minors. There have been international cases where players and their families residing outside Europe were promised fantastic opportunities with training at top European clubs, only to be taken advantage of and stranded by false agents. However, Barcelona continues to argue in another appeal filed to CAS yesterday that they do uphold the highest standard in protecting minors and their rights within their La Masia academy. There are 9 youth players identified as Barca’s transfer violators including 3 Korean youths – Paik Seung-ho, Jang Gyeol-Hee and one of Barca’s most promising youngster, Lee Seung-Woo are all wrapped up in the controversy. Since FIFA imposed the penalty, those players have had to suspend playing in the Spanish youth competitions, but have continued to train with their respective squads. The ban doesn’t apply to international competitions, and Barca has utilized that to give those players time on the pitch.
What does this mean for the Koreans in La Masia’s academy? Their own FIFA imposed ban on playing in the Spanish youth leagues for Barca will likely continue -however as Jae twittered – their ban only applies until they are no longer minors, meaning they all can’t wait until their 18th birthday:
The 3 Koreans (Lee SW, Paik SH, Jang GH) are all likely to stick out their ‘bans’ with Barca. Paik just has a few months until he’s 18.
— Jae (@ArmchairRegista) December 31, 2014
Lee SW has a year left (Jan. 2016) and Jang GH has about 15 months to go (April 2016). — Jae (@ArmchairRegista) December 31, 2014
and in fact, Paik, the oldest of the Korean Barca trio, will turn 18 this March. Japanese Barca youth Takefusa Kubo is on vacation in Japan and is considering staying in Japan to continue his training. He is 13, and with 5 long years to go in his ban, factors heavily into possibly leaving La Masia.
It has been rumored (note: emphasis on rumored) that it was someone in Korea who initially spilled the beans to FIFA about Jang, Paik and Lee’s transfer to Barca. It’s tempting to make damning conclusions about Koreans sabotaging Koreans, but without further evidence – we won’t go there. The initial rumor implicated Real Madrid (then helmed by Jose Mourinho) as the original snitch, though so far, no smoking gun has emerged as to the actual original source. It is also a point of order that several clubs have done the exact same thing as Barca, but have yet to be identified and punished.
Last word: 2014, despite the early World Cup exit was still a year that saw progress with Korean football as a whole. Slow progress, yes, but remember when people were excited when it was just Park Ji-Sung and Lee Young-Pyo that made news when both transferred to PSV Eindhoven in 2005? If the Tavern existed then, there wouldn’t been a whole lot to compile with KPA listings and roundups. Both have now retired, Lee in 2013 and Park this past June -it’s hard to truly fathom the full impact they’ve made to Hanguk Chu-gu. I suspect we will not hear the last from that duo. With respect to the Koreans that took on the European challenge since 2005, it’s now a good problem as we at the Tavern struggle to keep up with the happenings from these growing number of players. It’s a different problem in Korea with the critical lack of attention to the K-League, but if people remember that high profile players like Yun Suk-Young, Ki Sung-Yeung, Lee Chung-Yong and others all came from the K-League – there might be more love given to the domestic side. That’s one of many structural challenges going forward for Korean football, but the Tavern will do it’s best to document the story of the Taeguk Warriors in their attempt to add to the richness that is world football. Tremendous thank you to all the Tavern writers who have contributed to this site: Jae Chee, Jinseok Yang, Jeremy Paek, Tim Lee, Takeuchi and Evelyn Kim – and finally to you readers for frequenting the Tavern and making it what it is – one hell of a joint to hang out in.