Ki eager to play
Ki Sung-yong is desperate to help South Korea win the Asian Games in a bid to avoid military service.
Last Updated: 10/11/10 9:12am
Celtic starlet Ki Sung-yong is desperate to help South Korea win the Asian Games in China in a bid to avoid military service.
South Korean footballers must serve 18 months in the army prior to their 29th birthday or face being banished from the country.
Ki has the chance of avoiding the mandatory service if he helps the nation win the gold medal at this month's games, however, Celtic's injury situation means he is required at Parkhead.
The playmaker is required more than ever as South Korea's campaign could not have started with a poorer result having lost 1-0 to rivals North Korea.
"Everyone in Korea must go to the military. Even footballers must do it by the age of 29," he told the Daily Record.
"The Asian Games are on just now and if we win a gold medal we can avoid doing it. But because it is not a Fifa competition Celtic do not have to let me go.
"I can delay it until I am 28 but you must serve for 18 months before you turn 29. If I don't do it at some point I can't ever go back to Korea.
"I asked if I could go but Celtic said no as there are a lot of players injured."
Bhoys boss Neil Lennon has confirmed the club are in talks with South Korea's FA as there might be the possibility that Ki could fly out for the latter stages of the tournament.
"We don't want to lose him as we have (Beram) Kayal and (Scott) Brown out," said Lennon. "We are negotiating to see what we can do.
"There has been talk of him maybe going out there for the semi-finals and final. I don't know how far that has got.
"We've been talking to the South Korean FA and they've been pretty good about things."