Ulsan defender Kwak to play for Saudi football club
Published : 2013-01-18 19:08
Updated : 2013-01-18 19:08
South Korean football defensive back Kwak Tae-hwi, captain of the reigning Asian club champion Ulsan Hyundai Tigers, will join a first-division Saudi Arabian club next season, Ulsan announced Friday.
“Kwak Tae-hwi will move to Al-Shabab (in the Saudi Professional League),” Ulsan said in a statement. “Both clubs have agreed not to disclose specifics of the transaction.”
Kwak, 31, played the last two seasons for Ulsan in South Korea’s top-division, the K League Classic, after spending the 2010 season with Japan’s Kyoto Sanga FC. He made his professional debut with another South Korean club, FC Seoul, in 2005 and also played for the Chunnam Dragons.
As the team captain, Kwak helped Ulsan win the 2012 Asian Football Confederation Champions League, the premier club football tournament in Asia. In 2011, Ulsan was the runner-up in the K League Classic and captured the K League Cup.
The 185-centimeter defender, also known for his offensive instincts, has scored five times in 24 international games for South Korea.
Through the team statement, Kwak said he was sad to leave the team and the city and he hoped to be back in Ulsan in the future.
“I have nothing but fond memories from my two years in Ulsan, from winning the AFC Champions League to going to the K League Classic final,” Kwak said. “My plan is to retire in Korea. I really hope Ulsan brings me back.” (Yonhap News)
Al-Shabab, based in Riyadh, is the defending champion of the 14-team Saudi competition. Through 16 games in the current 2012-13 season, Al-Shabab is in third place with 10 wins, four losses and two draws, seven points behind the leader Al-Fateh.
Former World Cup stars such as Lee Young-pyo, Seol Ki-hyeon and Lee Chun-soo have played in Saudi Arabia. Striker Yoo Byung-soo, former K League Classic scoring champion, is currently playing for Al-Hilal. (Yonhap News)