Seongnam FC head coach Kim Nam-il held back tears as he left the funeral of Yoo Sang-chul, former head coach of Incheon United, at Asan Medical Center in Seoul on Tuesday. Coach Kim expressed condolences on passing away of the former Incheon United coach, saying it is a pity that Yoo died at an early age when he had more to do for South Korea’s football. Yoo and Kim helped the South Korean national football team reach the semi-finals at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Condolences are pouring in for Yoo Sang-chul, who died from pancreatic cancer at 49 on Monday, from all walks of life, including the football world. Prominent figures in Korean football field, including Korea Football Association Chairman Chung Mong-gyu, KFA Vice Chairman Kim Byung-ji, former Seoul FC head coach Choi Yong-soo, Incheon United technical director Lee Chun-soo, and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motor head coach Kim Sang-sik, as well as other sports stars, such as former Jeonbuk star footballer Lee Dong-guk and former tennis player Lee Hyung-taik, visited the funeral home to pay condolences. Their faces were clouded with sadness, showing grief for Yoo.
“I was happy to hear that he was doing well six months ago,” Chairman Chung said. “I did not expect him to die so early. I hope he rest in peace.” Huh Jung-moo, chairman of the Daejeon Hana Citizen, stared at Yoo’s portrait for a while. “He was always cheerful. I remember him as a man of humor and someone who gave a lot of positive energy to younger footballers,” Lee Dong-guk said. Fans of Yoo also visited his funeral to pay tribute.
Ulsan Hyundai FC, where former coach Yoo played most of his time in K-League, and Incheon United, where Yoo last served as the head coach, prepared a space for memorial services at their home stadium at the Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium and Incheon Football Stadium, respectively.
The Korea national football team will play against Sri Lanka in their second round of the Asian qualifying for the Qatar World Cup on Wednesday, when coach Yoo’s coffin will be carried out to a memorial park, wearing black armbands for players and black ribbons for coaches to pay tribute to Yoo. The Red Devils, the official supporter group of the national football team, will display a giant banner in mourning of Yoo, put up a banner decorated with 66 chrysanthemum flowers, and refrain from rooting for the first six minutes after kickoff to honor the memory of Yoo, who used to wear No. 6 for the national football team.