“If there is such an offer, I will come to Korea on a plane the very next day.”
‘Emperor Kangxi’ Choi Kang-hee, coach of Shandong Taishan, was recently caught up in a rumor from the Chinese media about his appointment to the Chinese national team. He also made specific statements, such as saying that he would not take command unless three specific conditions were met.
Director Choi took office in Shandong last May. At the time, Shandong’s team itself was in disarray, with the general manager and coach under arrest and investigation due to a match-fixing scandal. Son Jun-ho continues to be detained and investigated by Chinese public security in a situation where the charges have not yet been identified. Shandong was focused on ‘drawing a line’ by erasing Son Jun-ho’s traces, but absolutely relied on Coach Choi’s leadership.
This is coach Choi, who was in charge of Shanghai Shenhua and Dalian Yifang in China. He was familiar with the Super League system, games, and culture, and Shandong entrusted him with the baton. They placed Marouane Fellaini, who played for the Belgian national team and played for Manchester United, at the forefront of the attack and attempted to attack quickly, quickly improving the team.
Through the 28th round of the Super League, they have 15 wins, 9 draws, 4 losses, and 54 points, ranking second after Shanghai Haigang (59 points). It is 3 points different from 3rd place Shanghai Shenhua (51 points). The FA Cup has advanced to the final and awaits the opposition.
Before his appointment, Shandong showed typical lower-tier performance in the league, with 1 win, 4 draws, 2 losses, 7 goals scored, and 7 conceded goals. However, after Coach Choi took over, the team showed a remarkable turnaround with 14 wins, 5 draws, and 3 losses, 46 points, and 14 conceded goals. ‘Attack Forward’ was a success.
Coach Choi was strong against China during his time in Jeonbuk and knows the players’ tendencies in detail, so it is not surprising that there are rumors that he will be appointed to the Chinese national team, which is also having difficulties in India.
With important matches continuing, the match against Incheon United in the third match of Group G of the 2023-24 Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL) group stage held at Incheon Soccer Stadium on the 24th is also a game that is difficult to miss.
Shandong is in third place with 3 points, behind Yokohama F. Marinos (3 points, Japan) on goal difference. Incheon (6 points), playing for the first time, came out in first place, creating a different structure than Coach Choi expected. Only if we win against Incheon will we have time to look forward to the round of 16. Assuming Yokohama wins against Kaya, the reason to beat Incheon increases.
Incheon’s 4-2 victory in Yokohama was a surprise even to Coach Choi. He said, “It seemed like Incheon would have a difficult game away to Yokohama, but they won 4-2. That game showed Incheon’s characteristics well. In recent Incheon games, they did not concede many goals and were strong defensively. Like the Super League, “If we are strong offensively, we can also score (a goal from a counterattack). I am worried about it, but it is a game where we have to win. I will try to do everything I have,” he said, predicting a strong game.
Because the complex situations and reasons are intertwined, the Chinese national team has no time to wait. Regarding the rumor of his appointment to the Chinese national team, he strongly denied it, saying, “The stories coming out of China are fake news. I am not even thinking about it.”
The attitude was the same even after the press conference ended. He clearly said no, saying, “If such an offer comes, I will take a plane and come to Korea the very next day.” I asked him if it was an attractive offer, but he shook his head. He seemed to be implying that it was not appropriate for him to take charge of the Chinese national team as he had previously served as the coach of the Korean national team.
Goalkeeper Wang Daley seemed to have adapted to Coach Choi’s unique friendliness and leadership, saying, “I remember playing 2-3 games with Coach Choi when I was in Jeonbuk and losing all of them. I thought he was a stern and scary coach, but when I saw him in person, he was kind and good to me. I saw a different side of him. “I saw it. I was happy and had a good time,” he said with a smile. When asked whether he thought he would know a lot about how to deal with Korean soccer through his experience with the national team and ACL, Coach Choi whispered, “Don’t make political remarks,” in case Wang Da-lei made a mistake. It seemed like he paid that much attention to detail.스포츠토토
A Shandong official also said, “The coach came to Shandong and changed the team a lot. He is not someone who wants to go just because the national team is interested. The players will absolutely tell him not to go,” and said that there will be no sudden separation.
Coach Choi says he has completely gotten rid of domestic mobile phones since entering China and is concentrating only on soccer. He said that he was focusing all his efforts on correcting Shandong and that he had no contact with the Chinese Football Association.