South Korea must 'recognise and develop' its youth

The biggest problem facing the long-term health of soccer in South Koream writes John Duerden at OhMyNews, "is the lack of focus and attention that developing young people receives. This, not the financial and corrupt goings-on at the Korean Football Association, is the real scandal of soccer in South Korea." He argues that the KFA has to take control and help the K-League's clubs and the country's schools and universities in recognizing and improving young talent.

He also quotes Ian Porterfield, the coach of K-League team Busan I'Park, a former boss of English Premier League side Chelsea in the 1990s who has lead the national teams of Oman, Zimbabwe and Trinidad. "In Korean football people look at only the tip of the iceberg -- the national team -- and it's the wrong philosophy," Porterfield told OhMyNews in a recent interview. "There needs to be some long-term thinking. If you want to develop young players then you need a good structure and foundation."

Introducing a lengthy comparison of the career trajectories of two young stars, Park Chu Young and Wayne Rooney, Duerden observes that as South Korea "was thrilled by Park Ji Sung's great performance for Manchester United last weekend, it is worth remembering that he was almost lost to the game. After being rejected by his local team Suwon Samsung Bluewings, the young Park considered giving up soccer to become a physical education teacher. Such a situation is not uncommon."

See also: South Korean champion named assistant coach and Bonfrere's candid comments on South Korea