South Korea's under-23 national football team head coach Kim Hak-bum on Saturday gave all credit to his players for winning the men's football gold at the 18th Asian Games.
South Korea defeated Japan 2-1 in extra time at Pakansari Stadium in Cibinong, south of Jakarta, to top the men's football competition. It was a back-to-back title for South Korea after winning the competition four years ago.
"This good result is made by our players," Kim said. "And there are players who trained with us, but didn't come here. I also want to thank them and want to say sorry to them."
Kim Hak-bum (Yonhap)
Kim said the most difficult moment at the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games was after his side collected a 4-3 extra time win over Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals.
"After that victory, I saw that the players were getting loose and their hunger for gold was going down," he said. "That's why I scolded them after the match. I told them we can't win the tournament if we're not desperate."
Kim, who took over the helm in February, entered the Asian Games without playing any tune-up matches due to a change of competition schedule just days before the Games. The 58-year-old, who had managed teams in South Korea and China, said the 18th Asiad taught him many things.
"It becomes difficult day after day as you get older as a coach," he said. "You get to learn new things and have new experiences every time."
Now that his first test as national team boss has turned out to be a success, Kim's next challenge will be the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Kim said he is aware of what his next task is.
"If I can fix the problems raised in this competition, I can make a better team," he said. "With my experiences here, I'll make a good result at the Olympics."
Kim said his team at the Asian Games can grow and become better players. The 20 players that competed at the 18th Asian Games will get military service exemption, meaning they can keep their careers running without interruption.
"I'm sure they will develop further," he said. "I'll be watching them. I'll talk with these members in the future. I hope they can grow and make contributions to South Korean football." (Yonhap)