Taggart: How K League is starting when other leagues are postponed & cancelled
While most football leagues around the world are postponed due to COVID-19, Socceroos striker Adam Taggart is gearing up for the start of the new K League season in Korea.
The Socceroos striker, who won last year’s golden boot, will likely line up on Friday night (AEST) for Suwon Bluewings in the K League season-opener against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC.
While the situation concerning COVID-19 in Korea has steadily improved, life has not changed much in Korea according to Taggart, whose club has been training throughout this period.
“In terms of the actual virus situation, it never went into lockdown,” Taggart told the FFA Podcast.
“Everyone has been able to carry nearly as they normally would; there’s been a couple of restrictions like gyms, saunas and things like that.”
He added: “It’s pretty amazing really, how the country has been able to get it under wraps without going into a complete lockdown, or without completely shutting of flights.”
“I think it just reflects the culture here a little bit. They got told what they should and shouldn’t do and stick to the 1.5 metre distancing and everyone sticks to it the best they can, and it seems to have helped.
”Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, K League players and clubs have been able to train with some added measures in place.
“(It’s) literally been training as usual,” said Taggart.
“The only thing they changed for a three or four-week period was friendly games.
“Even up until four weeks ago, we were stilling having friendly games against some of the lower league teams or some university teams.”
And now, with the return date of May 8 set, players have been able to focus on the start of the season.
“I think that was a really difficult period for most people - not knowing when the league was going to start,” said Taggart.
“Not having something to work towards, that’s probably the toughest thing. Not only in football, in everyone else’s working life as well.”
Taggart, who scored 20 goals in 33 K League appearances in 2019, says it’s put a lot into perspective - including his move to Suwon from Brisbane Roar FC before the start of last season.
“It puts everything into a lot of perspective and for me it’s been a great move coming over here,” he said.
“I don’t really believe in luck, but in this sort of situation it has been another positive to come out of the move.
“I’m able to resume football and I’m grateful to be able to do that, knowing that a lot of my mates in other leagues are stuck in their houses at the moment.”
The 26-year-old's success with his new club has been accompanied with a return to the Socceroos setup where he scored his first goals for the national team in six years in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Chinese Taipei in October.
He then followed up that performance a month later with the match-winning goal in the Socceroos' first ever away win over Jordan.
With international football currently on halt, Taggart is now determined to help the Bluewings build on their Cup Final success and eighth-placed league finish last year when the new K League campaign begins on Friday night AEST.
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