Ghana coach ‘happy’ to see old pupil Son Heung-min in Qatar

DOHA– When South Korea and Ghana square off in their second Group H match of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this month, it will also set up a reunion for a coach and a former player of his.

South Korean captain Son Heung-min began his European career with Hamburger SV in Germany. He left South Korea as a teenager and joined Hamburger’s youth academy in November 2009, at age 17.
His coach at the time was none other than current Ghana national team head coach Otto Addo.

Addo, born in Germany to Ghanaian parents, spent his entire club career in Germany, including the final two seasons with Hamburger SV. He then began his coaching career with that club in 2009, serving as a youth team coach and an assistant manager until 2015.

“I am looking forward to seeing my old friend, Son,” Addo was quoted as saying by Ghana news website GhanaWeb on Friday, a day after his team’s 2-0 win over Switzerland in their final pre-World Cup friendly. “I was his coach at Hamburg when he was U-19. So I am happy to see him again.”

Son’s formative years with Hamburger laid foundation for what would be a wildly successful club career. After three seasons with Hamburger’s first team, Son played two full seasons with another German club, Bayer Leverkusen. He appeared in two matches with them in the 2015-16 season before joining his current team, Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

He has since blossomed into one of the world’s top players. He shared the Premier League Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah of Liverpool last season with a career-high 23 goals.

Son is recovering from facial fractures following a collision with an opponent during a UEFA Champions League match on Nov. 1. If Son plays here, he will do so wearing a protective mask made of carbon.

In Group H, Portugal and Uruguay, ranked ninth and 14th in the world, respectively, are seen as the favorites to advance to the knockouts. South Korea and Ghana, at No. 28 and No. 61 in the latest rankings, respectively, are regarded as underdogs. They also likely see each other as the weakest link in Group H.

Addo said he had already done some preparation work on South Korea but he was not looking beyond the team’s first match against Portugal next Thursday.

“With all due respect to Korea, we have to look at Portugal and concentrate on them,” Addo said. “And we take one step at a time.”

The South Korea-Ghana showdown kicks off at 4 p.m. on Nov. 28, or 10 p.m. on the same night in South Korean time, at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, just west of Doha.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

scroll to top