The Korean men's national football team and one of its star players have been shortlisted for annual Asian honors, officials here said Wednesday.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) said the national team was nominated for the National Team of the Year in the men's category by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Forward Lee Keun-ho is a candidate for the AFC Asian Player of the Year honors, the KFA added.
The team award, which was first presented in 2000, recognizes nations' performances at AFC and FIFA tournaments in the given year. In August this year, South Korea grabbed the bronze medal at the London Olympics, beating Japan 2-0 to win its first Olympic medal.
Korea has won the AFC award in 2002 and 2009. In November's FIFA rankings, South Korea is the second-highest Asian nation at 32nd, eight spots below Japan.
Lee Keun-ho, who plays for Ulsan Hyundai Tigers in the domestic K-League, will try to become the first South Korean to win the top player award since 1991. He has guided his Ulsan club to the final of the AFC Champions League, the continent's top club competition.
Ulsan is scheduled to host Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia for the Champions League title this Saturday. Ulsan is undefeated in its 11 Champions League games this year, and Lee has scored four goals in his last three AFC contests.
He has also been a fixture on the national team during the World Cup qualifying games. The last South Korean to win the player's award was Kim Joo-sung, who won three straight starting in 1989. It was first given out in 1988. (Yonhap)