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Mulling over Hong as New Coach

Posted August. 01, 2007 07:06,   


The Korean Football Association’s technical committee, which is on the search for its next coach following Pim Verbeek’s resignation, is repeatedly mulling over whether to hire Hong Myeong-bo for this position.

The committee was held for the final time to adjust opinions on whether to announce the 38-year-old Hong as the coach for the final preliminaries for the 2008 Beijing Olympics set to begin from August 22. However, no resolution was made on July 31, and the decision has been postponed to August 1.

The association’s technical committee is concerned over whether to let an experienced coach manage the team or to promote Hong, combined with popularity and charisma as a “young coach,” and take a leap for a new opportunity.

At present, the latter option is gaining strength. With his experience having led the Olympic team since last year, Hong knows the players better than anyone and would command immediate respect. Also, he seems to be qualified for the position when taking into account his various experience in assisting Dick Advocaat and Verbeek since 2006.

From the example of Germany, which succeeded in the 2006 World Cup by selecting the inexperienced 42-year-old Jurgen Klinsmann as its coach, Korea hopes that Hong will breathe new life to Korean football if he is selected as the new coach. Klinsmann managed the German team to a third place finish in the World Cup by revamping the team with young players.

With this atmosphere, the association which formerly regarded Hong as too young said, “Although it could be a huge burden on Hong himself, this will be a good opportunity to groom a star coach, as a crisis could also mean a chance.” Furthermore, by providing this opportunity to a young leader, Hong is expected to be a model for Korean leaders in Korea to gain hope.

Hong, who expressed his intention to “step down the team with Verbeek who resigned,” changed his mind to “lead the Olympic team if necessary.”

A favorable atmosphere for Korea in the final preliminaries for the Beijing Olympics will also support Hong as the new coach. Korea belongs to Group B and will play against relatively weaker countries including Bahrain, Syria, and Uzbekistan.

Meanwhile, Lee Yeong-moo, the head of the technical committee, said on that day, “The coach for the Olympic Games will be selected among the domestic leaders, and the coach for the national team will be decided upon later since no games are scheduled until the end of this year.”