Coach Hong Myung-bo (55) of Ulsan HD expressed both burden and expectation while preparing for the 2024 season.

If it is a burden to challenge the feat of winning three consecutive K-League 1 games, meeting the “children of Hong Myung-bo” again in Ulsan, which he coached from the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games to the 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 Brazil World Cup, raises expectations.

All-around defender Hwang Seok-ho (35) and side ace Kim Min-woo (34) joined Ulsan, and if existing playing coaches Park Chu-young (39), Lee Chung-yong (36), Kim Ki-hee (35) and Kim Young-kwon (34) are combined, six Hong Myung-bo’s children will join forces in Ulsan.

“Others say they should have done it twice as long as they want to do it three times,” Hong told a reporter at a hotel in Kagoshima, Japan, where he is training camp. Still, they need to go for a third championship. “Compared to the past two years, the team’s lineup has changed, so the beginning is important,” he stressed.

At both the London Olympics and the World Cup in Brazil, where he took the helm, Hong saved the two players to the extent that he formed defense centered on Kim Young-kwon and Hwang Seok-ho. After bringing in Kim Young-kwon first, he created the K League 1 MVP last year, and this year, he brought in Hwang Seok-ho, successfully reuniting the center-back duo.

It is no exaggeration to say that the defense has been reorganized into the children of Kim Ki-hee, the new captain of Ulsan, Hong Myung-bo, who is famous for the “four-minute miracle” of the London Olympics.

Hwang Seok-ho said, “(Kim) Ki-hee was the first friend to welcome Ulsan,” adding, “I didn’t expect the day to come when I could play for the same team again at this age.”

Kim Min-woo is not only a member of London, but he was also appointed as a member of the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games and the Brazil World Cup. A veteran who played 423 games in three countries, Kim answered Hong’s call without hesitation as soon as he became a free agent. “I am sure that the coach was the one who made the decision without much thought,” Kim said, recalling the time. “I want to do well in Ulsan, where there are many players who can take good care of each other.”

It is fair to say that Hong revived his old relationship with Ulsan because he found a player to trust in the crisis of leakage throughout the team. With Baco, a Georgia troubleshooter, leaving for Taishan in Shandong Province, China, Jeong Seung-hyeon (Al Wasl) and Kim Tae-hwan (Jeonbuk Hyundai) also chose to transfer to the defense line. With only three key players missing, Hwang Seok-ho and Kim Min-woo are key players to fill the vacancy.

“Hwang Seok-ho has to work with (Kim) Young-kwon and (Kim) Ki-hee in Jung Seung-hyun’s position (center defense),” Hong said. “I have high expectations because they can play both left and right fullbacks. They are players who used to play together (with Hong Myung-bo’s children), so there will be no big problem.”

Kim Min-woo is also regarded as a “key” who can call for changes in Ulsan. Armed with a structured passing game, Ulsan has exposed some problems with its activity, as Kim Min-woo is the type who can make up for this. Side attacks are its main job, but it is also very helpful in that it can take on both defense and midfielder. Coach Hong even emphasized, “Min-woo is faster and has more activity than the soccer we have played before. We expect it to fit the new soccer best.”

However, Hong Myung-ho’s children also have a disadvantage of Ulsan. As players in their mid and late 30s move up to the center, the average age will inevitably increase, and the aftermath can prove to be a drag on the long-term race. It is also the concern of old disciples.

“If we do well, we’re meant to be. If we don’t, we’re meant to be connected,” Hwang said. “(Kim) Min-woo feels the same way. Only when we prove ourselves with our skills on the field can the coach smile. I made a commitment when I joined Ulsan.”

However, Hong believes in his students. If experienced players demonstrate leadership skills that Ulsan lacked, the rest can manage physical stamina through appropriate rotation. It is in the same vein that he expressed his policy to give Kim Young-kwon, who returned from the Asian Cup, rest early in the season without forcing him to take a break.

Both his teachers and students are hoping for a beautiful finale at the end of the year. There are many stages where he can overcome beyond his third consecutive loss in the K-League 1, the Asian Champions League (ACL) and the Korea Football Association (FA) Cup. If he opens the door well in the first leg of the ALCs round of 16 strongest teams against Japans Gofu Banoré, which will take place at Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan on Saturday, he will be able to do so. 룸알바

“It is important how to play the beginning of the season,” Hong said, while Kim Min-woo and Hwang Seok-ho responded by saying, “We came to the trophy. We are on the way to repay the coach’s kindness.” They are the ones that Hong Myung-bo’s children will throw in 2024.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *