In March of 2019, there was exciting news for Seongnam FC. A 190cm tall centre-forward with a remarkable scoring record for Kharkiv in Ukraine and Buriram in Thailand was rumored to be heading Tancheon (well, Moran) way. And it was true:
Jaja was here! Nevermind that even in the welcome picture, he looked a little like 48Shades trying to squeeze into a Seoul Martyrs replica shirt after a very good Chuseok – surely that was just bad photoshopping.
Jaja’s debut was eagerly awaited but surprisingly, he didn’t feature in the first few games he was eligible for. Or the next few. Some started to wonder if he was in Korea at all. Then someone found his instagram:
Jaja was in Korea all right. He was even in Seongnam. And not just Seongnam but Iaewon and Gangnam too – pretty much everywhere in fact except the training field:
Seongnam gaffer Nam Ki-il, who was apparently not involved in the decision to sign Jaja, despaired telling Inter Football: “He doesn’t give any attention to our team. Totally individual” and “He is just doing whatever he wants. When we are having a meal together, he says ‘why should I have a meal with you guys?’ then go out.”
Which is surprising as Jaja did not miss many meals:
When asked why the Club didn’t discipline Jaja, Nam continued: “I am trying to give him a punishment but he is not reachable.”
Well if you really wanted to find him, Mr. Nam, we have an idea where the first place to look might have been:
Jaja never started a match for Seongnam, in fact he never even made the bench. He left in June, leaving behind a frustrated and angry Nam Ki-il, a set of confused Seongnam fans and a string of brokenhearted restaurateurs across the Capital region- some of whom had probably recently bought yachts.
One of the worst signings in K-League history, Jaja nonetheless walks off with “The Michelin Guide To The K-League” award.