Park Hang-seo a top pick for South Korea national football coach

By Hieu Luong, Lam Thoa   February 26, 2024 | 06:40 pm PT
Park Hang-seo a top pick for South Korea national football coach
Park Hang-seo as the head coach of Vietnam's national football team. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
Coach Park Hang-seo is one of the two candidates for interim manager of South Korea national football team, next to Hwang Sun-hong.

Many big newspapers in South Korea like Yonhap, Osen, JoongAng and Chosun reported that Park and Hwang are the main picks for the interim manager position. The chosen one will coach South Korea in the next two matches against Thailand in the World Cup qualifiers in March. During that time, Korean Football Association (KFA) will continue the selection process for a long-term manager, after sacking Jurgen Klinsmann earlier this month.

Park is suitable to be the interim manager, as he's not coaching any team at the moment. He has not taken a managerial role since parting ways with Vietnam national team last year. His current job as an advisor for Bac Ninh FC in Vietnam's third division also doesn't forbid him from becoming a coach of another team.

"Coach Park is a top candidate. It’s likely that he will become the manager of South Korea," Park’s agent Lee Dong-jun told VnExpress on Monday night. "But coach Park will only accept the offer on two conditions. First, all South Korean fans as well as football staff agree with him coaching the national team. Second, he will only be an interim manager."

Osen commented that with five years of experience in Southeast Asia, Park knows well about South Korea's next opponent Thailand. Park's leadership ability during his stint with Vietnam is also expected to restore discipline and team spirit at the national team, which has been chaotic after the recent conflict between Son Heung-min and Lee Kang-in.

"Park doesn’t want to be a long-term manager of South Korea. He wants to leave that chance to other coaches. He is willing to sacrifice his opportunity to be the interim coach and help South Korean football overcome the current difficulties," Lee added.

The other candidate, Hwang Sun-hong has an advantage compared to Park, as he is more familiar with the young players of South Korea. He saw recent success with the U23 South Korea team, winning the Asian Games gold medal last year. However, Hwang is currently preparing for the U23 Asian Cup in April, where the team have to finish in the top three to qualify for the Paris Summer Olympics in July.

Hwang Sun-hong is the other candidate for South Koreas interim manager. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

Hwang Sun-hong is the other candidate for South Korea national football team's interim manager. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

KFA’s National Team Committee is expected to announce the interim manager on Tuesday afternoon.

The committee initially wanted to appoint a long-term manager but later decided to select an interim manager instead. The decision came after South Korean football fans showed concerns that picking either Ulsan Hyundai coach Hong Myung-bo or FC Seoul’s Kim Gi-dong as South Korea’s long-term manager could disrupt the K-League, JoongAng reported.

Park Hang-seo, 66, is the most successful coach in the history of Vietnamese football. Under his lead, Vietnam won second place at the 2018 AFC U23 Championship, the 2018 AFF Cup title, a place in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Asian Cup, two SEA Games gold medals in 2019 and 2021. He also helped the team advance to the final qualification round of the World Cup for the first time in history.

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