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New Coaches Have a Hard Time Winning

Posted April. 25, 2004 21:55,   


Newly-instated Korean professional football team coaches are not producing winning results at this early stage of the season.

New head coaches include: Suwon Samsung team coach and former Germany player, Cha Bum-keun; Incheon United Coach, Werner Lorant; Jeonnam Dragons coach and Chinese star, Lee Jang-soo; and the Bucheon SK coach who claims to have been a great pupil of Guus Hiddink, Jung Hae-seong.

Cha has not yet led his team to a single victory. In the K-league game held on Saturday, Suwon Samsung tied with Seongnam Ilhwa, two all. With two ties and a loss, the team ranks eleventh. Although it is still early in the season, the whole league is composed of a mere twelve games, and the team’s records are not meeting expectations.

Cha claimed that he would sweep fans off their feet by showing them aggressive, speedy football, but has yet to live up to his promise. In order to deliver fast football, defense, middle field, and offensive lines have to be well coordinated, but experts believe that Cha’s team has weak middle field play, and does not deviate much from “break open football,” where goals are kicked in by players from long left or right shots.

Lorant, former player of Germany’s Bundesliga and current coach of Incheon United, said that he would go back to Germany if his team did not win. He, too, is having trouble meeting expectations. Incheon did manage to win third-time-losing Seongnam by one to zero on April 17, but played sluggishly against one-year-old Daegu FC in the game on Saturday, ultimately losing zero to five. Incheon United now ranks ninth with one win, one tie, and two losses.

Coach Lee Jang-soo, who attracted attention shortly before the season began with his win at the Tongyoung Cup, where Korea, China, and Japan came together, is also showing poor progress. Although his team defeated Daegu by four to one, the team tied with FC Seoul on Saturday, zero all. The team’s results so far are one win, two ties, and one loss.

Coach Jung Hae-soung’s team was not expected to rank high due to its lack of energy, and, as anticipated, currently ranks twelfth with two ties and one loss.

SBS commentator Shin Moon-sun says, “Unlike the regular league last year where each team played 44 games, in this season, each team plays 12 games, weighting each loss. This necessitates each team to put forth its whole effort in each game. The new coaches seem to be under strain and confusion.” Additionally, Cha Bum-keun and Lee Jang-soo are “celebrity coaches,” leading other teams to put up a stronger defense, and thus all sides are partaking in difficult games.

In the K-league game on Saturday, Coach Park Jong-hwan’s Daegu team defeated Incheon. As a result, the team recorded seven points (two wins, one tie, one loss), jumping to second, and rising up as a promising team early in the season.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com