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I Am a Coach Sandwiched between Bread?

Posted June. 10, 2004 21:27,   


#1: He appeared wearing training clothes at Seoul World-Cup Stadium on June 2, when the exhibition match against Turkey was held. It is a convention for a coach to wear a suit for an official interview. However, he adhered to his own fashion.

#2: He wore a suit in the second match against Turkey on June 5 and the match against Vietnam of the 2006 Germany World Cup Asia 2nd preliminary on June 9, but he looked stiff. He was dressed up by the demand of his surroundings, “The look was not proper to fans,” but he seemed uncomfortable as if he wore clothing that didn’t fit well.

It shows the awkward situation of acting coach, Park Seong-hwa (49-year-old) clearly as a head of the shifting Korea national soccer team.

Late on the night of June 9, with the joy of topping Vietnam 2-0 still not gone, coach Park was in an interview. He looked delighted at long last.

“I am now relieved because I feel that I fulfilled my duty. I would like to say thank you to the players for doing their best despite being exhausted.”

Since the sudden resign of Umberto Coelho on April 19, Park has led the team to two wins, one draw and one loss in four games from the game against Paraguay (April 28, 0-0) to the game against Vietnam. This result should be praised, not criticized.

But conflict surrounded him when he didn’t leave the national team following Coelho, who he had supported as a head coach for one year and four months, and he has managed the team in a dubious position with the name of “acting.” Blame like “why didn’t you resign together with Coelho?” and suspicions like “do you have any desire to be a coach?” tore his heart into pieces.

Park made his position clear at this moment as if he has thought about it for a long time.

“When we were defeated by Turkey in the first match, opinions surged to support me preferably. But I had no greed. I couldn’t take my personal desire because I had to be responsible for the situation with Coelho. I thought that my duty was just to keep the players’ condition as best as possible until a new coach was decided on.”

He said, “Since the association announced that they will get through the assignment of selecting a new coach before June 27, when the real training starts for the Asian Cup, my role was completed in the game against Vietnam,” adding, “I will focus on the training of the national team’s under 19s, which will start on June 14.”

In addition, he answered the rumor of trouble with Coelho, saying, “I can’t say that there were no conflicts, but it was not a severe disagreement.” He explained that it was a natural occurrence due to their different cultures.

Park also mentioned, “The reason for Coelho’s failure can be found in terms of cultural fact.” He seemed cautious to mention it, as if he thought it was very delicate.

Valuing self-control, Coelho didn’t have enough time to overcome his cultural differences with Korean players, who should be led by someone, so he couldn’t make changes by being dependent on existing players and couldn’t show his own colors according to Park’s analysis.

Does he have any unsatisfied feelings for players who have stepped down for two years with the intoxication of the “Big 4 achievement” of the 2002 World-Cup and who broke down with Coelho?

“Japan also was in a similar situation to the Koreans after the World Cup, and they became stable recently. The mental state of the players is not as bad as some have worried about. I am sorry not to have presented a new goal to players who had experienced the best moment.” He took the fault on himself.

Sang-Ho Kim hyangsan@donga.com