Coach Hwang Seon-hong, who leads the Asian Games national team, met with reporters at the Paju National Training Center (NFC) on the 14th and expressed his frustration regarding Lee Kang-in’s joining.
Coach Hwang Seon-ho explained, “PSG has yet to give us an answer on when Lee Kang-in will be sent to the Asian Games national team,” and added, “We were originally supposed to let them know when he would join by the 13th, but we only received information about his physical condition.”
He continued, “(Lee) Kang-in wants to join as soon as possible. However, coordination with PSG is experiencing difficulties.”
France’s local AFP news agency also reported, “Korea Asian Games national team coach Hwang Seon-hong expressed his frustration with PSG for not sending Lee Kang-in.”
Hwang Seon-hong-ho is scheduled to play the first match of the Asian Games group stage against Kuwait on the 19th. However, Lee Kang-in, the team’s key midfielder, has not yet joined.
Even if Lee Kang-in joins after passing the group stage, it is questionable whether he will be able to show proper performance. This is because it is not easy to play with new players in a short period of time. As coach Hwang Seon-hong, he cannot help but feel frustrated in a situation where he cannot utilize the team’s ace 100%.
The Asian Games is a very important competition for Lee Kang-in. This is because if she wins the gold medal, she will be eligible for military exemption. Previously, Korea won gold medals at both the 2014 Incheon and 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. Major players such as Son Heung-min and Kim Min-jae also received military exemption through winning gold medals in the Asian Games. Afterwards, she was able to show off her skills to the fullest on the European stage.
PSG also has no choice but to want Lee Kang-in to be exempted from military service. If the ‘military risk’ is erased and Lee Kang-in’s value increases, PSG’s competitiveness will also be strengthened.
However, PSG wants to minimize Lee Kang-in’s absence with the Asian Cup remaining in January next year. If Lee Kang-in plays the minimum amount of games and wins the Asian Games gold medal, it will be the best result for PSG. As the Asian Games are not hosted by FIFA, there are no mandatory draft regulations. It’s like a tug-of-war between PSG, which wants him to play less, and Hwang Sun-Hong, who wants him to join quickly.
Lee Kang-in has grown into a mainstay of Korean soccer. Now it is time to win the Asian Games gold medal. However, deciding when to join the Asian Games is not easy. Hwang Seon-hong and Lee Kang-in were in crisis even before the start of the competition.