5 Reasons why India lost to South Korea in Asian Games
Defending champions India lost to South Korea by a margin of 1 point in the dying moments of the league games (23-24). The Indian team led by Ajay Thakur was outshone in all departments by the Korean team. This is the second time in two years South Korea has defeated India in a tournament, first time being in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup League stages. Let us have a look at 5 reasons why South Korea could win against the mighty favorites India.
- Coach of Korean team
Not many know this, Ashan Kumar is coaching South Korea for the duration of Asian games. He is also the coach for Puneri Paltan next season. His focus on the defensive tactics and game management was a major factor in this win against India.
- Team selection
Indian squad selection was heavily criticized by media and fans alike for dropping proper right cover Surjeet Singh for such an important tournament. The team was more raid-centric and all-rounders were being used as make shift covers. The lack of a proper right and left cover was clearly visible in the second half when India were trying a comeback. Raiders may win you matches but defense wins you the tournaments!
- Game management by South Korea
Kabaddi is not only about raiding and defending, it’s also about using your brain and managing the game. South Korea did not inflict a single all out on India and still won. Once they took the lead initially, they played on the Do or die raids. From the last few minutes in the first half to five minutes in second half, India played with 3 raiders and a defender and Korea played on the DO or die raid knowing full well that they had the advantage in such a situation. They also maintained the initial momentum gained through the lead brought in by their raiders and not for a moment lost focus and intensity. It seemed like a lack lustre performance from Indians, but actually it was more of a professional and methodical approach by South Korea that won them the game.
- Prokabaddi exposure for many South Korean players
Many players from the South Korea team had good prokabaddi exposure over the past five seasons. Raiders like Jang Kun Lee and Dong Geon Lee took all their experience from those matches and applied them against India in the first half. The raiders were ably supported by the defense lead by Young Chang Ko. This also shows the effect of Prokabaddi at an international level which shows that Kabaddi as a sport is evolving.
- Korean defense
Indian raiders are famous for capitalising on defensive errors but there were hardly any from this Korean team. The likes of Ajay Thakur and Rohit Kumar struggled against the well organised defense. There were no easy points given away by any Korean player. Cover defenders especially kept the Indian raiders under control. Only Monu Goyat and Pardeep Narwal in the second half were able to score some points against the strong Korean defense.
India has a lot of planning and execution to do if they are going to win the Gold. Knowing India and the players, comeback is always on the cards!!