‘In the midst of this,’ Yi Ki-hoon’s P-license training…’Relegation threatened’ Suwon Samsung, no training gap?

The ‘master of tradition’ has lost its shine. Suwon Samsung is in the worst crisis in its history. After 35 rounds of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023, they are in last place (12th) with 6 wins, 8 draws, 21 losses, and 26 points. At this rate, they will be relegated to the K League 2. The situation is so bad that their only hope is a dramatic retention through the promotion playoffs (PO).굿모닝토토

In K League 1, the last place team is relegated directly, while the 10th and 11th place teams have a last chance to survive through the promotion PO. With just three games left until the end of the season, Gangwon FC (27 points) is 11th and Suwon FC (32 points) is 10th. The fourth ‘Suwon Derby’ of the season, to be held at the Suwon Sports Complex on Nov. 12, could prove to be a watershed moment. For last-place Suwon, it’s 90 minutes of desperate need for three points. A win would lift them out of the relegation zone and put them in a position to sneak up to 11th place, but the opposite is horrifying to contemplate.

But just when they need to go all out, acting head coach Yeom Ki-hoon leaves for his P-license training, the highest level of coaching certification. Yeom, who took over as interim coach in September to replace the club’s untimely departure of former coach Kim Byung-soo, is taking the P-license program in Thailand to avoid the fierce competition for enrollment in Korea, where this year’s training, announced by the Football Association of Thailand, is scheduled for Nov. 3-13.

If Yeom, who left the country on Nov. 3, completes his training schedule, he will not be able to coach the Suwon derby on Nov. 12. There could be a strange scene of the ‘acting head coach’ guarding the bench. Suwon sought an accommodation from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Football Association of Thailand, which organize the P-license training, and were granted permission to return home a day early. Barring any disruptions to his flight schedule, he should arrive at the stadium in time for the 2 p.m. kickoff on Dec. 12.

Of course, Yeom’s return to the bench won’t be a breakthrough. Rather, it’s the training gap during his absence that’s worrisome. Coach Oh and scout Yang Sang-min led training sessions for nearly 10 days, and Yeom delivered detailed training instructions and sketches before his departure. It’s a gloomy autumn for Suwon, who can only hope for the ‘strong spirit’ that has been faintly present throughout the season.

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