South Korea counting on captain Ki at Asian Cup
9th January 2015
South Korea skipper Ki Sung-Yueng insists his team-mates can cope with the pressure heaped on them as they look to win their nation's first Asian Cup for 55 years.
The Swans midfielder has recently been named captain of the national team by coach Uli Stielike, with South Korea facing group matches against hosts Australia and Oman.
South Korea, who won consecutive Asian Cups in 1956 and 1960, take on Oman in their opening match on Saturday.
And Ki, who has been an integral part of the Swans' Barclays Premier League campaign this season, is well aware of the level of expectation from his nation following their Group Stage exit at the World Cup in Brazil.
"Myself and all of my team-mates have a huge responsibility," said Ki, who has over 60 international caps. "As this is the first game, we know there is a lot of pressure on the players, but we are ready.
"Maybe even after the World Cup there is still huge disappointment for the national team.
"We're the Asian country that has participated the most times in the World Cup and we've never won the Asian Cup in (55) years, so it's a bit weird.
"However, we know we have come here to win this tournament and we hope by playing good football we hope to bring happiness and confidence to all the Koreans who are following us in this tournament.
"By achieving this, we hope our national team's reputation will go up again."
The tournament kicked off today with hosts Australia taking on Kuwait, with the competition due to end on January 31.