“I’ll play the last one or two games…”
At the request of foreign player Wandelsson (34), Pohang coach Kim Ki-dong (52) was troubled, but also grateful for his fighting spirit and passion.
Pohang, which is battling Ulsan Hyundai for the title, suffered a last-minute blow: both of its foreign players, Wandelsson and Oberdan, went down with injuries. Wandelsson suffered a serious injury in the East Coast Derby against Ulsan on March 30, fracturing his right lower jawbone, and ended up on the operating table. He is likely to miss all five games of the Final A.
Wandelsson’s injury was serious. At the Final A media day on the 18th, head coach Kim Ki-dong said, “Wandelsson is not a big player. But he lost 6 kilograms in 10 days. He broke his jaw in two places and can’t open his mouth. I can only survive on protein and water. Since two days ago, I’ve been able to open my mouth a little bit.”
Despite the serious injury, Wandelsson is preparing to return to the field. The goal is to play the last one or two games. The end of the season is near. For a veteran and foreign player of his age, it would be easy to just focus on recovering from the injury, but Wandelsson is determined to make a comeback for his team.
“Even before the surgery, he said he would play with a mask,” said Kim Ki-dong, “He has the will to come back. He wants to build up his body, he wants to take a vacation, but he said he wants to play the last one or two games, so I told him (Wandelson) to wear a mask.” From a managerial standpoint, Wandelsson’s commitment is appreciated. “I’m having a lot of trouble with the team doctor right now, whether I should do him a favor or not,” Kim chuckled.
Throughout the season, Wandelsson, a Brazilian national, has helped the team with his unique leadership style. He looks out for the other foreign players like a veteran, and on the field, he runs one step further than anyone else and throws himself first. It’s something that head coach Kim Ki-dong has praised on several occasions. “Wandelsson leads the team’s training atmosphere,” he has said before.메이저사이트
Pohang is in the thick of the title race. In second place (58 points), they have clinched a Final A spot and are chasing leader Ulsan (67 points). It’s going to be a tough battle, as both teams have a small point differential. Pohang will also have their work cut out for them. They have a tight league schedule, plus the FA Cup and the Asian Champions League. They can’t give up on any of them, which puts a lot of physical and mental pressure on them.
Fortunately, just like Wandelsson’s determination, the entire Pohang squad has shown their willingness to ‘go all the way’, which is a great boost to the team’s ranking battle. On the same day, ‘Pohang Captain’ Kim Seung-dae said, “We took second place. We will not lose this position and make sure that the fans’ support never stops. We will lay the groundwork to chase Ulsan to the end.” “We are in the chasing position. It’s hard to defend, but it’s not hard to chase. We’ll do it to the end,” he said in a captain-like manner.
Pohang head coach Kim Ki-dong (left) and Ulsan head coach Hong Myung-bo. /Photo courtesy of the Korea Football Association
“It’s our fault that we fell behind Ulsan,” said Kim Ki-dong. We had a good situation, but we couldn’t overcome it. Even if we don’t win, we still have the East Coast Derby to play. I really want to win that game.”
Pohang will begin their Final A schedule on March 20, when they host sixth-place Incheon United. Coach Kim Ki-dong’s next match against Ulsan will be on March 12. “We are in the chasing position. “We’re in the chase, and I think we have to beat Ulsan to compete until the end. It’s a rivalry, and it’s a game that the fans want to win. We want to do our best until the end and beat Ulsan,” he said, expressing his desire to win.