National soccer coach Huh Jung-moo announced his resignation Friday at a news conference in central Seoul after leading his squad to the World Cup`s second round for the first time on foreign soil.
He was appointed to coach the national soccer team on Dec. 7, 2007.
I learned a lot over the past two years and six months, including from the experience of making the World Cup`s second round," he said. "Id like the opportunity to study, reflect and refresh myself by taking stock of what I did and didn`t do well, and thinking about what I must do in the future.
The following is excerpts from Huhs interview.
Q: When did you decide to resign?
Huh: In the preparation period for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, I told my coaching staff that I would resign regardless of the results. To avoid unnecessary misunderstanding over a delay, I hastily announced my willingness to resign.
Q: What did you feel at this World Cup and what are your plans?
Huh: I thought of what we lacked and needed to improve for the next challenge on the world stage. We dont lag behind in stamina, mental strength and organizational power but do in skills such as game management, passing, touches, breakthrough in one-on-one situations, and smart play. We can resolve such weaknesses if we have a long-term plan and implement it continuously. For the sake of Korean soccer a decade from now, I want to make contributions. There are many things I can do.
Q: When was the happiest moment and most difficult moment for you?
Huh: My nickname is "tumbling doll." I rarely feel frustrated. We lost to China, 3-0 (in February in the East Asian Football Championship), and to Argentina, 4-1 (in the team`s second World Cup Group B game). But every team suffers defeat. I learn more lessons when we lose. I have an optimistic and positive mindset. My happiest moments were when we beat Greece in our first group match, which secured our place in the second round, and when I saw our players run at full strength against Uruguay.
Q: People say your style of leadership is a leadership of communication.
Huh: When I played for a Dutch team (PSV Eindhoven in the 1970s), meetings between coaches and players were very intensive. After the meetings, however, they admitted their faults and apologized. This deeply impressed me. When I became a coach, I also tried to do the same. Communication between coaches and players in Korea is difficult. Its not easy to get players to open up. I sometimes allowed time to encourage players to talk to each other and between players and coaching staff.
Q: You played in the 1986 World Cup and served as trainer and coach later.
Huh: These were very important periods in my soccer life. Whenever I was involved in the World Cup as a player or trainer, I felt regret and sorry. I felt the same when I resigned as national team coach in 2000. I was very grateful for the opportunity to lead the national squad again in 2007. I prepared for this World Cup with a firm determination to achieve success. Though I was successful, I still feel regret and sorry.