Verbeek: Ahn needs club to play for South Korea

September 22, 2006

SEOUL, Sept 22 (Reuters) - South Korean striker Ahn Jung-hwan's chances of playing for his national side are 'absolutely zero' as long as he remains without a club, coach Pim Verbeek said on Friday.

The comments should encourage Ahn, who is eager to represent his country in next year's Asian Cup, to sign up soon.

Dutchman Verbeek, who took over from compatriot Dick Advocaat after South Korea's first-round World Cup exit, excluded the striker from his squad before a 1-1 draw with Iran in a cup qualifier this month.

The 30-year-old Ahn is looking for a move away from German second division side MSV Duisburg but is yet to find a club to take him on.

'At this moment -- absolutely zero. There is no chance,' Verbeek told the Korea Herald when asked what Ahn's chances of selection were.

'I really like him as a player because he is a player that can decide any game. I was really thinking about using him in the Iran game because even in the last 15-20 minutes, he can do a job and score a goal.

'(But) it is impossible. I can't defend my decision to the outside world to take a player without a club who hasn't played a game for two months ... and if you leave out a talented player like Park Chu-young saying that he's not playing so well then how can you select a player without a club?'

Verbeek said Ahn could not afford to be choosy.

'He knows also that he was gambling. He must have been gambling, I am not involved and I am not his agent but I am 100 percent sure that there were some teams interested in him and probably they were not at the level he had in mind to play at for the rest of his career.

'That's gambling -- he took a risk to wait for a better possibility. Everybody is responsible for his own decisions and I think this is the wrong decision. I am sure that he thinks the same.

'There are no players in Korea at the moment with his qualities. Jo-gook is a good player for the future but we don't have players like Ahn who can decide the game out of nothing. He is an experienced player and really wants to play in the Asian Cup.'

The Asian Cup finals will take place in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam from July 7-29, 2007.