Celtic news

Lennon angry at Korean FA

November 18, 2011

Celtic manager Neil Lennon will think twice about signing players from outside Europe in the future after he was left frustrated by the South Korean FA's recent handling of Ki Sung-yueng and Cha Du-ri.

Ki Sung Yueng Celtic
PA PhotosKi Sung Yueng of Celtic

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The Celtic boss was angry that Ki was called up for the World Cup qualifying double-header against United Arab Emirates and Lebanon even though the midfielder was suffering from a virus that ultimately required a stay in hospital. Cha, who returned injured from an international break earlier in the season, played against Lebanon with a hamstring injury and is unlikely to be fit for Saturday's trip to Inverness in the Scottish Premier League.

Ki is also a doubt for the game against Caley and Lennon, who revealed striker Mo Bangura could require surgery on a knee injury, admits these latest problems may influence his signing policy.

"It is certainly something to consider, with the amount of travelling these guys do,'' he said. "That's three or four international breaks already this season and there has not been one where we have had a full compliment of players coming back. Cha was out for six weeks after one of them.

"But with FIFA regulations, we are bound to let the players travel. Ki wasn't well and we knew that. We had two doctors check him out and we knew he had a virus, although he didn't need a brain scan.

"They have to check them out and see for themselves, despite me having a top class medical team here. South Korea wanted him to go there and then travel to the Emirates and then to Lebanon when he clearly wasn't fit to travel let alone play. So he was in hospital for a week in Korea, came out and then went back in for a couple of days as he wasn't very feeling well and then flew back here.

Lennon was equally frustrated with another injury to full-back Cha.

"Cha has come back with a tight hamstring,'' he said. "He complained after the first game that it was tight and sore. I wouldn't say he was forced to play but he was taped up and played 90 minutes against Lebanon on Tuesday night and looks like he is not going to be able to play for us tomorrow.

"So it is very frustrating. We do all we can to help these countries but at times I don't think it is reciprocated.''