Eye on Suwon: Tae-se returns to Gosford

THE Mariners will be out to stop new Suwon Bluewings striker Jong Tae-se in Gosford next Wednesday. Tae-se played for Kawasaki Frontale against Central Coast in 2009

Thanks to World Sport Group, we cast an eye on Suwon's star striker Jong Tae-se ahead of next Wednesday's AFC Champions League Matchday 1 clash in Gosford. The DPR Korea marksman will be one to watch in this season's edition of Asia's premier club competition.

NEW Suwon Bluewings striker Jong Tae-se is determined to lead from the front for the K-League Classic side in the AFC Champions League this season with the DPR Korea international more determined than ever to claim a first major honour of his career.

Tae-se is set to feature for Seo Jung-won's team against Central Coast Mariners on Matchday 1 next Wednesday, however this won-t be the first time the former Bundesliga striker has visited Gosford. Indeed, Tae-se played and scored for Japan-s Kawasaki Frontale against the Mariners in the AFC Champions League in 2009.

Former Kawasaki Frontale striker Jong joined Suwon, who finished fourth in the K-League last season to earn the 2011 semi-finalists a return to the AFC Champions League, in January after spending two years in Germany with VfL Bochum and FC Köln.

Jong has previously played in the AFC Champions League three times for Kawasaki and helped the J.League side reach the quarter-finals in both 2007 and 2009, although the 28-year-old is keen to improve his modest return of five goals in 19 appearances in the continental competition.

“I have never had a chance to become a champion throughout my professional playing career. And as this season my target is to score 15 goals, I think my effort will play a large role towards Suwon becoming champions,” said Jong, who also featured for Kawasaki during the 2010 group stage campaign.

“I have participated in the AFC Champions League three times but I did not do well, but I am looking forward to participating in the AFC Champions League again. I am desperate to perform well in the AFC Champions League and I am eager to lift the trophy.”

Jong scored two goals in the 2007 AFC Champions League as Kawasaki eventually lost on penalties in the quarter-finals to Iran-s Sepahan before fellow J.League side Nagoya Grampus posted a 4-3 win on aggregate at the same stage two years later.

Having also contributed two goals in 2009, Jong found the net once a year later but the striker missed the final three group stage games due to suspension as Kawasaki missed out on a place in the Round of 16.

“Jong Tae-se has much potential. He is fast, very combative and scores goals calmly. My duty is to help him pull up his potential to the highest level,” said Suwon coach Seo Jung-won.

“Jong Tae-se is the kind of player who is ready to sacrifice for his fellow players. I am expecting that he will be a great help to our team.”

Jong will face familiar faces in Kashiwa Reysol in the group stage this season after Suwon were drawn in Group H alongside the Japanese Emperor-s Cup winners as well as A-League Premiers Central Coast Mariners and Chinese Super League side Guizhou Renhe.

“When I was part of the J.League, I played against them (Kashiwa) a couple of times. Kashiwa Reysol does not have famous players, but they have systemised passing skills and good movement,” added Jong, who rose to prominence after helping DPR Korea qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and became globally famous for his emotional reaction to the playing of nation's anthem ahead of their clash with Brazil in Johannesburg.

“Also they have one Brazilian player (Leandro Domingues) who has decent shooting and passing abilities and knows how to be in tune with the game. I will prepare and try to achieve good results.”

With the newly rebranded K-League Classic set to begin at the start of March after Suwon open their 2013 AFC Champions League campaign with a trip to Australia to face Central Coast, Jong will become just the fourth DPR Korea player to feature in the top-flight in Korea Republic.

“My performance last season wasn-t the best to be honest; therefore I decided to return to where I started as a rookie,” said Jong, who was born in Japan to a father from Korea Republic and a mother from DPR Korea.

“Also, it is a very good chance for me to join a South Korean team. There is a political tension between the South and North and I hope I can contribute in cutting down the existing tension by playing sport with Suwon Bluewings.

“Fortunately, I don-t feel any pressure. As a professional football player, I want to play where I can push my potential to the highest level.

“I decided to transfer to Suwon because it was comfortable and I felt like I wouldn-t get distracted by other outside factors.”

2013 AFC Champions League Matchday 1 - Central Coast Mariners (AUS) vs. Suwon Bluewings (KOR) Wednesday 27 February, 2013 Central Coast Stadium, Gosford Kick-off: 7:00pm Tickets: Please CLICK HERE to purchase tickets to the match! Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter. The official hash-tag is #CCMvSB