|South Korean men's Olympic football. (Photo from FIFA)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] SEOUL -- And there will be 18. That's the size of the South Korean men's football roster for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Head coach Kim Hak-bum will get a couple of opportunities to test Olympic hopefuls starting Saturday when the first of two tune-up matches against Ghana will be played in Jeju Island.
The kickoff is 7 p.m. at Jeju World Cup Stadium. Kim called up 28 players for his training camp: three goalkeepers, 10 defenders, eight midfielders, and seven forwards. While the typical Olympic men's football tournament is open to players 23 and younger, the age limit has been lifted by one year for this year because the Tokyo Olympics got postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The roster crunch won't be as simple as cutting 10 players from the current camp. All teams at the Olympics can each name three players over the age limit. That leaves just 15 spots up for grabs for the under-24 group this time.
There are also U-24 stars who were called up to the senior national team instead of World Cup qualifying matches. The likes of Won Du-jae, a versatile midfielder who can also handle center-back duties, and wingers Lee Dong-gyeong and Song Min-kyu will merit Olympic consideration when the time comes for Kim to set his roster.