The Thai football mag I attempt to read each week has a round-up of Asian football stories most issues. I've been thinking about summarising the column each week on here for a while, but not got round to it. The ulterior motive is to get me working harder on my Thai.
The June 25 - July 1 issue also doesn't have much going on, due to the big leagues taking a break for the summer/rain/World Cup. This week's Asian round-up discusses a number of transfers by Japanese players.
ï¿½Life returns to normalï¿½
Asian footballers have returned to the regular routine, post-World Cup. The best professional leagues, Japanï¿½s J-League, and Koreaï¿½s K-League, after taking breaks to allow their national teams to prepare for and play in the World Cup, are resuming this month.
On the Sunday the 18th, Kyoto Sanga play Shonan Belmare, Gamba Osaka meet Urawa Reds, and Hiroshima face Yokohama F Marinos. Officials are hoping for increased attendances in the J-League after the success of the national team at the World Cup, where they qualified for the second round.
North Korean striker Jong Tae-Se has signed a 2 year contract with Bochum, with an option of an extension. The 26-year old will be doing his best to help his new team gain promotion back to the Bundesliga this season. We will be watching to see how successful Jong is on this foray into Europe.
Japanese midfield star Keisuke Honda has returned to Russia and rejoined his team CSKA Moscow. This term however, he will be betterï¿½known to the fans, who now have higher expectations of him. There are rumours of European clubs looking to buy him, including A.C. Milan, Atletico Madrid, and Olympique Marseille. At this stage, Honda has given no indication of whether he will move to a bigger club, or stay where he is.
Japanese defender Atsuto Uchida, has joined his new team, Schalke 04 in Germany. The 22-year old was presented at training on July 13 by coach Felix Magath, and has been allocated the no. 22 shirt. Opposition forwards may need some warning, as Ujita was disappointed that the he didnï¿½t receive a similar farewell to those given previously to Hidetoshi Nakata when heleft Japan at the end of last week. (this last sentence is a guess in my translation)
Yuto Nagatomo, FC Tokyo defender and member of the Japanese team, is close to moving to Europe and joining Cesena in Italy. He is currently in the negotiation stage, after travelling to Italy on July 13. Other clubs chasing his signature included Bologna, Real Majorca, Borussia Dortmund and Birmingham City, , but he chose to play in Italy with Cesena. During the 2010 World Cup, Nagamoto played every minute of all 4 matches of Japanï¿½s campaign.
Koreaï¿½s K-League resumed a week earlier, after a 2-month break. In the first week of matches, the ï¿½Lion Kingï¿½ Lee Dong-Guk scored 2 goals as defending champions Jeonbuk Motors defeated Daegu FC 3-0. Striker Lee was part of the Korean squad at the World Cup, but featured but made just appearance as a substitute. The victory helped Jeonbuk climb 2 places to 6th on the table, with a record of 5 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses after 11 matches.
Korean international defender Kim Hyong-Il scored as reigning Asian Championsï¿½ League holders Pohang Steelers drew 1-1 with Chunnam Dragons. At this match, Pohang unveiled their new signing, veteran Korean international winger/midfielder Seol Ki-Hyun. Seol was playing his first K-League match since leaving Korea to play for Antwerp in 2000. In the decade since, he has also played for Anderlecht, Reading and Fulham (I think he was also at Wolves). He returned to Korea in January to find a club with which to end his career.
Park Chu-Young didnï¿½t need to travel far to rejoin his Monaco teammates; in fact, they came to him. The French club played a pre-season friendly against Incheon United on 11 July, which finished 2-2. Park came on as a second-half substitute in the 75th minute, to the cheers of the large crowd.
Former South Korean international player and coach Cha Bum-Keun, who was in South Africa as a commentator with Korean TV channel SBS, was fined 1000 rand (about US$200) for overstaying his visa as he flew out after the World Cup. Cha, father of current international Cha Du-Ri was stopped by immigration officials at Johannesburg Airport on July 13, and has been banned from re-entering South Africa after staying longer than allowed on his visa. He entered South Africa on June 9 for the World Cup on a Special Business visa, valid for 30 days. He needed to stay longer for the tournament, but forgot to contact FIFA with/for the necessary documentation.
The Iraq Football Federation have announced that Wolfgang Sidka is the new national team coach. The 56-yearold Germanï¿½s first task is preparing Iraq for the defence of their Asian Cup title next January 7-29, to be held in Qatar. This position needs a coach with experience of Asian football, because the former Werder Bremen manager has also had stints with the national teams of Bahrain and Qatar. The former Hertha Berlin player will begin his contract at the end of July.wolfman2010-08-15 21:28:26