By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (September 6th 2023)
Both Wales’ manager Rob Page and his opposite number could do with a win tomorrow night, friendly or not, but they have vastly different views on the match. Former Spurs and Germany great, Jürgen Klinsmann took the job as South Korea’s gaffer in February, promising to live in Korea – he hasn’t and that has drawn the ire of South Korea’s media.
With two draws and two defeats under his belt, Klinsmann’s honeymoon ended fast. He says that he needs to be in Europe to observe South Korean players based in Europe, but he needs a performance too.
Klinsmann points out that South Korea last won the Asian Cup a staggering 63 years ago. That and a World Cup performance are his targets, until November he has nothing but friendlies to prepare his team with.
South Korea drew with El Salvador and Colombia and lost to Uruguay and Perú. But Klinsmann rejects the obvious excuse. The international calendar is fuller now than ever before, but friendlies carry no clout. FIFA does not oblige clubs to release players for friendlies – even some top competitions such as the Africa Cup of Nations, which are played in January, like the Asia Cup face a long-standing battle to obtain players despite FIFA rules. Friendlies are far worse, but Klinsmann knew that he would depend on such matches to prepare to buck the awful historic trend he inherited. He makes no excuses.
“No we have no problems at all getting players for these,” Klinsmann told reporters. “Obviously we have at the back of our mind our 24 team, going to China and playing the Asian Games, which is very important and then it happens after our two friendly games now. From the club side all the players, no problem at all.”