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"The coach has a winner's mentality": Jasir Asani Full Interview

Gwangju FC star Jasir Asani says that manager Lee Jung-hyo has a "winner's mentality" and encourages his wingers to score more goals. The result, so far, is four goals for Asani including a hat-trick. The new Albania international spoke to K League United for an exclusive interview.

There's an instant impact and there's what Jasir Asani did on his Gwangju FC debut. The Griffins were away to Suwon Samsung Bluewings and heading into the last two minutes were level at 0-0 but winter recruit Jasir Asani struck two minutes from time for Gwangju to mark the K League 1 return with a win.

Gwangju's second win of the campaign came in Round 4 via a 5-0 hammering at home to Incheon United. Asani, now in the starting lineup, broke the deadlock on nine minutes with a stunning strike before sealing a hat-trick later in the second half with goals on 69 and 72 minutes. 

K League United caught up with Asani to talk about his move to K League and how life is going in South Korea.

Q: What a great week it was for you before the international break, you scored a hat-trick and then you made your international debut.

A: Of course, I am very happy I scored three goals and help the team receive three important points. Of course, I am very very happy for my debut with the national team it has always been my dream.

Q: Am I right in saying that that was your first career hat-trick? That must mean it’s extra special?

A: I am very happy for my hat-trick and I have to keep going and score more goals to help the team win always. I have the ball on my home, I will continue working hard and score more goals why not more hat tricks? I will be very happy.

Q: When did you hear you’d be getting the call-up for Albania?

A: I got [an] answer five days before collection of the national team, I have always been waiting and ready for the Albanian national team, and it is the best feeling. I will give my everything, my own spirit for the national team always.

Q: Was there ever a conversation about representing North Macedonia? Your first few clubs were in Macedonia and you played for Macedonia U21s but I understand your parents are from Albania…

A: I have played for Macedonia (U21s), I was born there [and] my family lives there but we are Albanians of Macedonia. I have always dreamed of playing for Albania because I am Albanian and I am very happy to debut. I have played for a lot of clubs in Macedonia because there is the place everything started, FC Vardar I did my first steps of football.

Q: Were you always a winger? 

A: I have always played as winger and I like that role but I have played more roles it is not a problem, I will play where the team needs me.

Q: I know it’s only been four games for you, but how does K League compare to the leagues you’ve played in Europe? 

A: I think there is a lot of difference between Korea, Sweden, and Hungary but here too the championship is too tough and fast. I like it here.


Q: Has the good start to the season surprised you? Has it gone better than you expected?

A: I have always done my everything because every game is hard, I am very happy I started scoring goals and helping myself and the team win. It is not important who scores, [what's] important is the team wins and achieves three points. 

Q: Where did the move to K League come from? Why South Korea?

A: I had some good offers from some clubs in Europe but I liked Korea more because I have some friends that have played here before and told me about Korean football about the people and life here. I liked it and wanted to try it, I like everything here and I am very happy. 

Q: What made you choose Gwangju FC?

A: I like the club's objectives this is why I chose to come here it is a club raising every day, every player on the club is doing good.

Q: How’s the city? Are you enjoying living there and in South Korea?

A: I like the city a lot it is very beautiful, I like to live here, I like everything. I am happy being here.

Q: What about the food? Had you tried Korean food before you came?

A: No, I have never tried it is difficult for me but I have to try (laughs). I need some more time to get used to it here, it is different from Europe.

Q: You scored on your debut, of course. On the one hand you will have been disappointed not to start, but then you came off the bench and score the winner so it was almost a perfect start to life in K League?

A: Of course, I give my maximum every time. I want to score more for my team and help win. I was very happy being on the field and scoring, this is the most important thing."

Q: What’s the coach like? He is building a reputation as a young and exciting coach, as an attacking player does he give you the freedom to express yourself?

A: Yes, the coach is one of the best, what he says we try to do better because he is helping us wingers to achieve to score more goals or how to be the best on the field. The coach gives us the best tactics and we are trying every day to do what he says, he has a winner's mentality and wants to do beautiful football.

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