Hong Myung-bo tapped to lead Korea’s national men’s football team once more

Posted on : 2024-07-08 17:03 KST Modified on : 2024-07-08 17:03 KST
The Ulsan HD coach will fill the position left empty for nearly five months following the sacking of Jürgen Klinsmann
Hong Myung-bo, coach of the Ulsan HD football team. (Yonhap)
Hong Myung-bo, coach of the Ulsan HD football team. (Yonhap)

Hong Myung-bo has been chosen to lead South Korea’s national soccer team, returning to the position after a 10-year absence. 
 
The Korea Football Association (KFA) announced Sunday that the association tapped the 55-year-old Ulsan HD coach as the next head coach of the national team. After nearly five months without a coach following the firing of German manager Jürgen Klinsmann on Feb. 16, the country’s national team will be back in the hands of a Korean coach. 
 
Hong will take charge of the national team starting with the third round of Asian qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in September.

As an athlete, Hong was an iconic defender for South Korea and represented the country in four World Cups, starting with the 1990 World Cup in Italy. He captained South Korea to a legendary fourth-place finish at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
 
As a coach, he has achieved notable results with the national under-20 team, leading them to the quarterfinals at the 2009 U20 World Cup in Egypt and clinching bronze at the 2012 London Olympics. Hong served as the national team’s head coach from 2013 to 2014 and led the team to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. 

Hong’s experience of leading the team to a highly criticized exit in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup could prove to be an asset in the team’s journey for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. His administrative experience as the executive director of the KFA from 2017-2020 will also give him a strong foundation to build on and off the field.
 
Following Klinsmann’s dismissal, the KFA, led by the national teams’ booster committee headed by Chung Hae-soung, eyed around 100 foreign coaches for the job.
 
After negotiations with several foreign coaches broke down, Chung reportedly recommended South Korean coaches, including Hong, to senior KFA officials. When Chung resigned last month, the possibility of a foreign coach becoming the new leader seemed like a foregone conclusion, but it appears that the association sent an urgent SOS to Hong, who is familiar with the domestic situation.

By Chung In-seon, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

 

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