Ki focussed on Asian Cup dream
21st January 2015
Ki Sung-Yueng believes his form at Swansea City could help South Korea end a 55-year wait and lift the Asian Cup in the country he once called home.
The Swans midfielder, who turns 26 on Saturday, hopes to captain his country to the semi-final of the competition when South Korea take on Uzbekistan on Thursday (7.30am GMT).
Uli Stielike's side so far have a perfect record in the tournament, with victories over Oman, Kuwait and hosts Australia.
And Ki, whose impressive form for the Swans this season has included three goals in 20 Barclays Premier League games, feels his performances with Garry Monk's side has already benefited his national side.
"Playing regularly in the Premier League is a dream for me," said Ki. "Every single game is a top-level match so you can't give anything less than 100 per cent.
"I am still improving and it has helped me put in better performances for my country.
"It's different playing at Swansea compared to the national team. I get more pressure and I have more responsibilities for South Korea, but I always try to give everything that I have.
"We have not won this competition for 55 years so, as a nation, we are desperate to win it.
"To win the Asian Cup is my dream."
Victory over Uzbekistan is a must if Ki is to accomplish that dream.
His nation haven't lifted the title since 1960, when they claimed back-to-back trophies.
Now he hopes to become the first South Korea captain in 55 years to hold the Asian Cup aloft.
And it would prove even more special for him to do so in the country he once lived in while studying the BSP (Brain Soccer Program) overseen by Swansea-born Jeff Hopkins at Brisbane's John Paul College.
"I was there for four years in Brisbane. I was studying there and I played in the school team, so I know all about the country," added Ki.
"The supporters here love their football, even though rugby and cricket is massive in Australia.
"Australia will want to lift the title in their own country, but it has been a long time since we have won the competition, so our desire is to do that."