It’s Son Heung-min’s time.
The AFC, the organizer of the Asian Cup, has released a poster on its official social media accounts that puts Son at the center of the action. The poster, which lists the captain of each participating team, puts the South Korean captain at the center and surrounds him with other stars. It’s a bold move that borders on “cult of personality,” as the phrase goes.
What makes the AFC poster unique is that it was uploaded to the tournament’s official account, not a fan account. The fact that the tournament hasn’t even started yet, and all teams have an equal chance of winning the title and other accolades, is a testament to the fact that Son is the only star who is expected to shine brightly, and who no one will argue with.
AFC centered Son Heung-min on the left blue dragon, with Saudi Arabia’s Aldosari (Al-Hilal) on the right back and Qatar’s Al-Haidos (Al-Sad) on the left, and Iran’s Eshan Hajizafi (AEK Athens) on the back. Japan’s Wataru Endo (Liverpool) and Australia’s Martin Boyle (Hibernian) were on the flanks.
As Asian soccer has grown, it has produced a number of stars, but in terms of individual achievements, no one has yet surpassed the stature of South Korean captain Son Heung-min. With 41 goals in 117 A matches, Son has 206 goals and 94 assists in 559 professional club appearances since moving to Europe. The numbers are simply overwhelming.
Meanwhile, Klinsmann’s men will kick off their 2023 Asian Cup group stage against Bahrain at 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 15. They will then play Jordan and Malaysia five days apart to complete the group stage before hosting the round of 16 on July 31, depending on their final group ranking.
The Koreans have been absent from the tournament for 64 years after winning back-to-back titles in the first and second editions. South Korea’s roster for the tournament, which they hope to win, is as follows