Former Vietnam assistant coach helps South Korea find replacement for Klinsmann

By Hieu Luong   February 21, 2024 | 03:24 pm PT
Former Vietnam assistant coach helps South Korea find replacement for Klinsmann
Lee Young-jin (front) as the assistant coach for Vietnam's national football team. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Lee Young-jin, former assistant coach of Vietnam national football team, was selected to join a committee to find a new coach for South Korea.

Lee worked as an assistant to coach Park Hang-seo from 2017 to 2023, some of the most successful years of Vietnam national and U23 teams.

The 60-year-old was considered coach Park's brain, especially in analysis, technical guidance and strategy. After coach Park’s contract with Vietnam expired last year, a group of South Korean assistants, including Lee, also left.

As a player, Lee was known for his stint at LG Cheetahs (now FC Seoul), winning the K League 1 title in 1990.

In 2003, he was voted into the best XI of South Korea in the 90s. He played for the national team from 1989 to 1994 with 51 appearances, attending two World Cups in 1990 and 1994.

After retiring, he worked as assistant coach of Seoul from 2005 to 2009, then coached Daegu FC from 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

Lee has been inactive in coaching for over a year.

On Tuesday, he was officially selected by the Korean Football Federation (KFA) to join 11 members in a committee to improve the national football team.

Their first task is to find a replacement for coach Jurgen Klinsmann who has been sacked. The other members on the committee are all former South Korean coaches and players.

The new chairman of the committee is Chung Hae-seong who replaced a resigned Michael Muller.

Chung was the technical director of Vietnamese club HAGL in 2017 and 2018, and the coach of HCMC FC in 2019 and 2020.

Before that, he was best known for being one of the two coach assistants of Guus Hiddink, the other being Park Hang-seo, that helped South Korea finished fourth at the 2002 World Cup.

South Korea will have two important matches against Thailand on March 21 and 26 in the second qualifying round of the 2026 World Cup.

According to South Korean newspaper Kyunghyang, three domestic coaches are being considered: Hong Myung-bo (Ulsan Hyundai), Kim Hak-bum (Jeju United) and Kim Gi-dong (FC Seoul).

Under Klinsmann, South Korea were lackluster, unconvincing and eliminated from the semifinal of the Asian Cup, after losing 0-2 to Jordan in the semifinal on Feb. 6.

After a brawl between captain Son Heung-min and Lee Kang-in a day before the semifinal was exposed on Feb. 14, criticism for Klinsmann reached its peak.

Two days later, the Korean Football Association decided to sack Klinsmann, paying him and his coaching staff $7.5 million in compensation.

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