Countries in Southeast Asia are scrambling to invite South Korean soccer coaches. Kim Pan-gon (53), the chair of the committee for strengthening the capability of the South Korean national team under the Korean Football Association, will assume the coach for the Malaysian national team, following the footsteps of Park Hang-seo (63) for Team Vietnam and Shin Tae-yong (52) for Team Indonesia.
“Kim Pan-gon has decided to resign as the chair of chair of the committee for strengthening the capability of the South Korean national team because he has been named coach for the Malaysian national team,” the KFA said Friday. The Malaysian Soccer Association also announced on the day it was appointing Kim as its national team coach. Kim will finish his role for Team Korea by traveling with the team for the seventh and eighth away matches against Lebanon and Syria scheduled on Jan. 27 and Feb. 1, respectively, for the final qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup Qatar.
Kim served as coach for Team Hong Kong from 2012 to 2017. From 2018, he has been playing a coordinating role for the Korean national team at the KFA. “As I think I have fulfilled my small mission as chair of the committee, I think it is about time to return to the ground to serve as a coach,” Kim said. “I had shared understanding on Team Malaysia’s development potential and their vision, and have decided to move to Malaysia to take on a new challenge.”
As Kim is set to coach the Malaysian soccer team, three Korean coaches including Park and Shin will serve as coach for national teams in Southeast Asia. Park, who assumed the coach for Team Vietnam in October 2017, has displayed stellar performances, including Vietnam’s advance to the semifinals at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta Palembang, the 2018 AFF Championship (Suzuki Cup), and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, and the team’s first ever advance to the final qualifying round of the World Cup.
Shin, who has been coaching Team Indonesia since October 2019, led his team to the runner-up of the 2020 AFF Championship last year, and is being hailed as hero in the Southeast Asian nation. As Korean soccer leaders have shown outstanding performance, ‘K-soccer’ fever will likely heat up further in Southeast Asia. “Other countries and territories in Asia including Hong Kong have keen interest in Korean coaches,” a source in the K-League said. “Korean coaches have demonstrated their strong leadership, have better cultural understanding on these countries, and are less expensive to hire, and are thus highly sought after in the region.”
Dong-Wook Kim email@example.com