Park Ji-sung, the chairman of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup Task Force (TF) for the 2023 tournament, reveals that he once felt pressure to represent Asia.
Park became a soccer administrator after retiring from active play. He completed the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Master Course in 2017. He served as the head of youth development strategy at the Korea Football Association from 2017 to 2018 and is currently the technical director of Jeonbuk Hyundai.
His involvement with the AFC continued. In 2015, he served as a member of the AFC Social Responsibility Committee, and in March, he took on a new challenge as chairman of the AFC Professional Football Task Force. This is the organization that oversees the transformation of club football on the continent.
Park told AFC on Thursday (KST), “I have felt pressure at times. In the back of my mind was the fact that I was representing Asia while playing in Europe, and that the future of other Asian players depended on my success,” Park confessed.
“I’m very happy that Son Heung-min is doing well in the English Premier League, but what I would really like to see is players from other Asian countries outside of Korea and Japan making it to the top leagues in the world.”
Typically, retired players join the coaching staff. Park chose an administrative path early on. Among other things, he worked to expand the infrastructure of grassroots soccer in Asia. This led to his involvement with the AFC Professional Soccer TF.안전놀이터
“It’s a common path to become a coach after retirement, but I didn’t think it was the right role for me. I still wanted to be involved in football, so I focused on an administrative role. I spent some time studying sports management and got to know the grassroots and youth soccer structure in Asia,” he says.
“I realized that there is a lot of untapped talent in Asia and that we can improve the youth structure to provide the right infrastructure and environment for future generations.”