United through Football: Team South Korea
In celebration of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, we asked some of our community ambassadors to talk to us about their national teams. Keith Lee has been working in the Korean-Australian community for a number of years and with an unparalleled love for football, he has been bringing people together at the popular KangaCup, as well as at AFC Asian Cup in 2015, when he was a community ambassador. Read what he has to say about South Korea at the 2018 FIFA World Cup below!
What is your role in the community?
I’m the advisor of ACT Korean community and also KangaCup Ambassador for ACT Football Federation (Capital Football). I usually act as a community ambassador for all the community activities, cultural, sports, social etc. KangaCup is an annual international youth football tournament in July every year, which is the largest youth football tournament in Southern Hemisphere. I was the community ambassador for AFC ASIAN CUP Australia 2015. I’m also a member for the National Unification Advisory Council, Republic of Korea.
What do you love most about what your role?
I love meeting and communicating with people and through networking for the community events and activities, and it certainly provides great value and joy in my life.
What does the FIFA World Cup mean to Korea?
Korean people love football very much and it’s the number one favourite national sport, together with baseball, in Korea. Therefore, the FIFA World Cup is the largest sports event for Koreans, as well as Olympic games, drawing some of the biggest support from people across the country.
How did you feel when South Korea qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup?
As with most of Korean people, I was so proud of the Korean National Team when they qualified to be one of 32 qualified World Cup countries.
How passionate are football fans from Korea?
The football supporting group, so called, “Red Devil” is very famous with it’s crazy football passion, which has been clearly proven since the World Cup 2002.
Who is your favourite (nationality) player and why?
Sohn Heung-Min is my favourite player who is the best in Asia, I think. He’s beating the records of all Korean legend players, like Cha Bum and Park Ji-Sung.
If there was only one destination in Korea to visit, what would it be and why?
Gyeongju is a coastal city, located in the far southeastern corner of North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea. Gyeongju was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla (57 BC – 935 AD), which ruled about two-thirds of the Korean Peninsula a long time ago. I recommend people to visit there because Gyeongju is often referred to as “the museum without walls”, full with historical treasures in the city everywhere you go.
Vegemite is the food Australians love. What is Korea’s “Vegemite”?
“Kimchi” – pickled spicy vegetables. Winter time in Korea is very cold and dry, so as a result, no greens available during that period. So, it has been our ancestors’ wisdom to enjoy vegetables, especially in winter time, however it’s the popular food with rice for every season.
What is your favourite festival from Korea and why?
Full Moon (Chu-Seok) festival in Autumn of Korea (Spring of Australia!). It’s a good and happy time/opportunity to gather families from remote places, celebrating together a good harvest.
What do you love most about Australia?
Multiculturalism indeed! Living together peacefully with many different nations and cultural backgrounds in good harmony.
Who you think will win the FIFA World Cup this year?
It’s far too difficult to predict, but my number one favourites as the final winner were the reigning champions Germany before/up their shock defeat to Mexico. So, now I don’t think Germany will make it. My second favourites were the five-time champions, Brazil, but they failed to build good ranking in the opening games. So, now I can’t predict any team as the final champion of the FIFA World Cup 2018.