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News: Daejeon Hana Citizen target ACL qualification within two years

Despite only just securing promotion to K League 1, Daejeon Hana Citizen CEO Huh Jung-mu says the club is targeting AFC Champions League qualification within two years.

Speaking to Chosun Biz, Daejeon's CEO Huh Jung-mu said: "Internally, the club planned to qualify for the Asian Football Confederation Champions League within two years. But a lot needs to be done for the team to achieve that. You can't improve straight away just because you're in a hurry."

While promotion back to K League 1 might have felt like an eternity to the club's fans, having remained stuck in the second tier since 2016, Huh said that promotion was achieved faster than he thought:

"The team won promotion faster than I expected. The year before the takeover, Daejeon had finished ninth out of 10 teams and even though we brought a lot of players to the football club, there hasn't been that much time. People were too hasty in thinking that Daejeon would be a strong team right from the off."

Huh also dismissed any suggestion that third-time lucky was too late:

"Getting promoted after the third attempt isn't late, I don't think. If you look at all the different teams in K League 2, promotion is never easy. There are no easy teams in K League 1 and so we are going to prepare extremely well."

While the celebrations will have lasted for a few days and the club and its fans have the whole winter to enjoy that promotion-winning feeling, Huh says that there's a lot to be done before a ball can be kicked in 2023:

"With strengthening the squad for 2023, winter training and stuff like that, there's a lot that needs to be done. We have players who are out of contract, and players going on military service. We have plans to strengthen every position. We'll hurry to bring in the players we need."

FNR

With lofty aspirations from the moment Hana Finance Group took over, a lot has been said about Daejeon's budget but Huh insists that less money has been spent than people might think:

"The club's operating costs this year are not as high as outside expectations. It remains to be seen whether the funds will be used for the winter transfer market. (Hana Financial) Group is expecting to provide support in consideration of the club's situation."

Meanwhile, as reported in Money Today, the club's owners have said that more funds will be provided. Chairman Ham Young-joo confirmed as much:

"We will continue to provide generous support so that the strong will and passion that helped the club win promotion can be channelled into a prestigious club that represents Korea."

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