“Actually, Kwang-min Ko is leaving tomorrow.”
FC Seoul, which is conducting the second winter training camp in Kirishima, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, had its first team rest day on the 14th. In the evening, they ate eels and replenished their energy. Seoul coach Ahn Ik-soo, whom I met at a dinner table, unexpectedly gave the news to the reporters. It is said that Ko Kwang-min (35), a veteran side defender who debuted as a pro in Seoul in 2011 and played as a “one-club man” for the club except for public service life, is packing up.
Coach Ahn asked for the reporters’ understanding for a while, left his seat, and announced his farewell to Ko Kwang-min in front of the players. On the 24th of last month, the Seoul club announced a renewal of the contract with Hwang Seong-min, Hwang Hyun-soo, and Ko Kwang-min. However, it was a sudden breakup after 3 weeks. What is the story?
Koh Kwang-min received a love call from Sabah FA, a member of the Malaysian Super League (1st Division), based in Kota Kinabalu, a representative overseas resort, and challenged the overseas stage in his twilight years as a player. The sudden connection with Sabah was last month in Thailand, which was the first training camp. Seoul had an evaluation match with Sabah in the field. Ko Kwang-min played a big role against Sabah.
Defender Park Tae-soo from the Sabbaen K-League runs with the captain’s armband. He made his professional debut in Incheon in 2011메이저사이트 and went through Daejeon, Chungju, and Anyang until 2015. He played 69 games (1 goal and 5 assists) in his K-League career. After playing in the lower league, he moved to the Malaysian league in 2020 and spent three seasons, and this is his fourth year. Although he is a defender, he emerged as the savior of the team by scoring 8 goals in 19 league games last year alone. Naturally, the club’s preference for Korean players grew.
According to a Seoul official, Park Tae-soo asked Ko Kwang-min for his contact information after the Seoul match in Thailand. Saba’s coaches were fascinated by Ko Kwang-min’s play, and Park Tae-soo acted as a scout by becoming a kind of link. In fact, at the beginning of this month, the Sabah club made a proposal to recruit Ko Kwang-min to Seoul. The contract period is 2 years.
Ko Kwang-min, who has supported his soul in Seoul, has been thinking over and over again. A player who has grown into a ‘one club man’ has great career concerns at the time of his retirement. Whether he will remain with his current team as it is and finish his career as a player, or he will gain new challenges before it is too late. For Koh Kwang-min, if another team in Korea had made a reasonable offer, staying in Seoul would have been a priority. However, in his twilight years as a player, a love call from an overseas club could be a great opportunity in his football career. After he came to Kagoshima, after repeated worries, he announced his intention to transfer to the club.
As much as he signed his new contract, Seoul held the key. And director Ahn’s will was the most important. At first, it was ‘impossible to transfer’. Director Ahn said, “Kwang-min has the symbolism of being a one-club man in Seoul, and he was in the best condition among our fullback agents this winter. He immediately had Incheon in mind as a starter for the season opener.”
The reason he changed his mind was when he turned the clock to his active career. Coach Ahn said, “I suddenly remembered the time I played for Pohang in 1997. (Training period) He had an evaluation match with Kashima Antlers in the Japanese J-League. However, it has been canceled due to opposition from the top of the club,” he said. “It is time for Kwang-min to think about the future. He thought finishing in Seoul was a good picture, but it was also a good opportunity to go abroad with his family to try out his career as an athlete, learn English, and prepare for the future.” He said, “At first, I just thought of it as a manager, and then I came to worry about being a ‘soccer senior’. I wanted to support Kwang-min’s challenge in a grand way.”
The Seoul team also shared the same position as coach Ahn. Kwang-min Ko was allowed to go to Malaysia without negotiating the transfer fee. So, a day later, he moved to the Malaysian stage amid sincere send-off from his coaches and teammates. Seoul, with whom he shared his soccer life, once again became his supporter at a fateful moment. The Malaysian Super League, played by Ko Kwang-min, will open on the 25th like the K-League 1. Sabah played a home game against PDRM, and Koh Kwang-min’s new dream was drawn in Konakinabalu.