The team that goes to the World Cup hasn’t been decided, right?”
The voice heard over the phone showed the spirit of a dreamer who was not afraid of taking a different path from others.
This is director Park Soon-tae, who is filming the second <Barefoot Dream> in East Timor. After 17 years at the helm at Daegu University, his alma mater, he began a new challenge with the East Timor national football team in February this year.
Coach Park, who recently went on a field training trip to Pyeongchang, Gangwon-do, recalled in a phone call with a reporter, “It all started when I received P-level license training together with coach Kim Shin-hwan, who pioneered soccer in East Timor.”
Director Kim Shin-hwan is a well-known figure who has coached the East Timor youth soccer team since 2002, and is also the actual protagonist of the 2010 film <Barefoot Dream>, which depicts the joys and sorrows of East Timor children. The players raised by Coach Kim are now becoming leading players on the adult stage and are dreaming of a World Cup together with Coach Park. Director Park said emphatically, “The path I initially chose to donate my talent has now changed to the idea that it is worth a try.”
East Timor’s FIFA ranking is 192nd, the weakest in Southeast Asia. Starting with the 2026 North and Central America World Cup, the number of finals tickets allocated to Asia has increased to 8.5 (previously 4.5), but this is not a level that Timor-Leste can easily aim for. Starting from the first round of World Cup Asia qualifiers to the final qualifiers, a hole like the eye of a needle must be pierced.
Director Park is well aware of this fact, but he is confident that he has taken his first steps well in the half year he spent in East Timor.
Timor-Leste was eliminated from the group stage of the Southeast Asian Games for players under the age of 23 last May, but made headlines by defeating the Philippines, ranked 135th in the FIFA rankings, 3-0. East Timor lost 0-7 in the A match against the Philippines in December 2021, which was enough to attract attention.
Coach Park, who recalled that time, said, “We only won one game,” but added, “The results from two months of training were not bad. “It was a moment when I confirmed that East Timor football also had potential,” he emphasized.
The possibility that Coach Park found is the passing game. Since the average height of East Timor players is short (160cm), physical fights with opponents are a shortcut to defeat. We need to play soccer by taking advantage of our relatively excellent agility and targeting gaps. Director Park said, “We are receiving favorable reviews from locals who say it has changed and has become better.” “My future goal is to obtain results that are as different as the content has changed,” he said.소닉카지노
Coach Park and the East Timor players are hoping that the Pyeongchang training camp scheduled until October 8 will be a turning point. A month-long training began with the financial assistance of FIFA and the help of former students from Daegu University who were running a restaurant business in Pyeongchang. Coach Park said, “With the help of Shim Bong-seop, president of the Pyeongchang County Football Association, a training ground was prepared, and people who like football worked together to provide everything from meals to players to training clothes to protect against the cold weather.”
Coach Park emphasized that he should repay with accidents, not accidents, at the World Cup. This is because it is a training camp to prepare for the first round of the 2026 North, Central America World Cup Asian qualifiers against Taiwan (153rd), which will be held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on October 12th and 17th.
East Timor does not have a home stadium that meets FIFA regulations, so both games will be played away to Taiwan, but their desire to advance to the next level will never be pushed back by their opponents. If East Timor advances to the second round of the World Cup, it will face Oman, Kyrgyzstan, and Malaysia, who are waiting in Group D, starting in November.
Coach Park said, “If we were to talk about the reality right now, no one would say that we would win in the first round against Taiwan,” and “But I still believe in the saying that the soccer ball is round. I definitely want to advance to the second round of the preliminary round and compete against Korean coach Kim Pang-gon of Malaysia. “Our challenge begins now,” he said.