Pohang 2024 Season Preview: Can Park Tae-ha lead the revival?

“Previewing Pohang Steelers’ 2024 Season: A New Era Begins”

After a promising 2023 season that saw Pohang Steelers challenge for the title and secure a second-place finish, the club faced a turbulent offseason. Key players departed, including club legend and manager Kim Gi-dong, who took up the vacant FC Seoul job. As Pohang prepares for the 2024 season, columnist Woman Jo looks ahead to their 51st campaign.

In the previous season, Pohang displayed resilience despite the loss of key players, finishing in second place with 16 wins, 16 draws, and 6 losses. Individual heroics from Zeca and Alex Grant overshadowed underperforming players like Kim In-sung. The Steelers struggled to convert draws into wins, ultimately falling short of the title by 12 points behind Ulsan.

Notable departures include Kim Seung-dae, Zeca, Alex Grant, and Goh Young-joon, who transferred to various clubs. Pohang’s inability to retain its captains in recent years continues to haunt the team, raising questions about a potential jinx or curse. With key players leaving, including consistent performers like Goh Young-joon, Pohang faces a challenge in rebuilding its squad for the upcoming season.

Key player Oberdan, known for his versatility and consistency, will be instrumental in the club’s new campaign. Despite suffering an MCL injury, Oberdan’s defensive prowess and ability to drive forward make him a vital asset. As Pohang adopts a new tactical approach under manager Park Tae-ha, Oberdan’s role within the team is expected to evolve significantly.

Young player Hong Yun-sang, dubbed “Hong Grealish,” emerged as a key figure for Pohang last season and is set to play a more prominent role under Park’s leadership. The departure of key players opens up opportunities for emerging talents like Hong, who could shape Pohang’s attacking play in the upcoming season.

Park Tae-ha’s tactical shift towards a more direct style of play raises questions about how the squad will adapt to the new system. Players accustomed to Kim Gi-dong’s “Steel-ki-taka” brand of football may face challenges in adjusting to Park’s strategies. The season will be a test for established players like Kim In-sung and Baek Sung-dong to prove their versatility within the evolving lineup.

As Pohang embarks on the 2024 season, the club’s ability to maintain its competitive edge and recapture the magic of previous campaigns remains uncertain. With a mix of seasoned veterans and promising youngsters, Pohang faces a critical juncture in its quest for silverware. The upcoming season will reveal whether the club can overcome the departure of key figures and continue its legacy of success in Korean football.

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