Olympic team returns home with ‘trophy’, coach Hwang Sun-hong welcomes team home… Olympic qualifying preparations ‘in full swing’

The Olympic team has returned home with gold. The Olympic program is in full swing.

The Olympic team returned home on Monday after winning the 2024 West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) U-23 Championship in Saudi Arabia. Four of the overseas players who participated in the tournament – Bae Jun-ho (Stoke City), Yang Hyun-joon (Celtic), Kim Ji-soo (Brentford) and Kim Min-woo (Freiburg) – 텍사스홀덤 went straight back to their clubs.

Hwang Sun-hong, who missed the WAFF U-23 Championship as the interim head coach of the A team, personally welcomed the players at Incheon Airport.

Looking back on the WAFF U-23 Championship, Kang Sung-jin (FC Seoul) and Eom Ji-sung (Gwangju FC) said they gained confidence as they grew. “I felt a lot of things while playing against Asian countries,” said Kang. We know that the U-23 Asian Cup grouping is not easy, but I think it makes us more confident and better prepared,” he said. “We didn’t concede a goal and then conceded in the final against Australia. I think it’s important for us to be more solid defensively.”

Uhm Ji Sung, who scored the winning goal in the semifinal against Saudi Arabia, said, “I think we have a good chance if I do my part and work hard enough. I will prepare hard when I return to Gwangju.” “We thought a lot about how to fill in the gaps where the coach is not present. I think we were motivated, and I think we did a good job. It’s up to the manager and the coaching staff to make the Asian Cup roster.”

Hwang is not resting easy. He will reconvene his players, mainly the domestic squad, for domestic training at the Icheon Sports Complex from January 1-3 next month. He will submit the final Olympic qualifying roster to the AFC by the fifth. South Korea, which is trying to qualify for its 10th consecutive Olympic Games, will need to finish in the top three at the U-23 Asian Cup in Qatar next month to secure a ticket. The fourth-place finisher will have to play a playoff against a team from the African continent.

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