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S. Korea to train for Olympic football qualifying tournament in Thailand

15:41 January 14, 2019

SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will start training for the men's Olympic football qualifying tournament in Thailand this week, the sport's national governing body said Monday.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) unveiled a 26-deep camp roster for the men's under-22 team, coached by Kim Hak-bum. They will train in Bangkok from Tuesday to Feb. 12 and play exhibition matches against the Thai U-22 national team, along with professional clubs from South Korea and Japan.

In this file photo from Sept. 1, 2018, Kim Hak-bum, head coach of the South Korean men's under-23 football team, looks to the field before the start of the gold medal match against Japan at the 18th Asian Games at Pakansari Stadium in Cibinong, Indonesia. (Yonhap)

Thailand will also host the 2020 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship from Jan. 8-26, 2020. It will double as the Asian qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

But South Korea will first have to qualify for the U-23 championship. The qualification tournament will feature 11 groups of four, and South Korea will face Australia, Chinese Taipei and hosts Cambodia in Group H from March 22-26.

The 11 group winners plus the four best runners-up will qualify for the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship.

Hosts Thailand have been awarded a bye to the U-23 Championship. If Thailand win their group or end up among the four best second seeds in March's qualification event, then the fifth-best runners-up will advance to the 2020 U-23 Championship.

Kim's camp roster features Suwon Samsung Bluewings midfielder Jeon Se-jin, who was named the country's top young player in 2018. Other K League 1 players include FC Seoul forward Cho Young-wook and Daegu FC teammates Kim Dae-won and Jeong Seung-won.

Park Joung-in, who won the scoring title in the national high school league last year, will be the youngest player at camp at 18.

"Since the AFC U-23 Championship will take place in Thailand, this camp will be a good opportunity for us to get acclimated to the local surroundings," Kim said. "We'll try to work on tactical details."

Kim coached last year's U-23 men's team to the gold medal at the Asian Games in Indonesia. At the Summer Olympics, the bronze medal from London 2012 remains South Korea's only medal in 10 appearances. They were eliminated in the quarterfinals in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

This file photo provided by the K League on April 26, 2018, shows Suwon Samsung Bluewings midfielder Jeon Se-jin in action. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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