“It was really hard”: Hong Myung-bo’s first confession as GSDF commander…’Sinner mode’ South Korean leader speaks out to association

On the eve of the start of the 2024 K League season, the managers of the teams were not smiling. The recent controversy surrounding the appointment of the new head coach of the Korean national soccer team has spilled over to the Korean coach.

At the opening media day of the ‘Hana Bank K League 2024’ at The Plaza Hotel in Sogong-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, on the 26th, all the major K League 1 managers were disappointed with the Korean Football Association (KFA) administration.

Ulsan HD head coach Hong Myung-bo, who was mentioned as the No. 1 candidate for the national team’s next head coach following the dismissal of Jürgen Klinsmann, 홀덤사이트 confessed, “I had a very difficult few days.” He said, “I was mentioned as a candidate for the national team head coach through the media regardless of my will. I didn’t know or hear anything about it,” he said, adding, “It was very difficult as it brought back memories of the past.”

The KFA recently fired Klinsmann, who lost his leadership following the team’s Asian Cup quarterfinal exit and infighting, and formed a new power enhancement committee centered on Chairman Chung Jung-sung to select the next head coach. However, immediately after the first meeting on March 21, Chung announced the terms of the appointment without any clear direction, mentioning leadership, tactical capabilities, developmental capabilities, and rationale. He said that he would prioritize an active K League coach, indicating his intention to appoint an official head coach in time for the two Asian qualifying matches against Thailand and North and Central America World Cup in March.

Naturally, Hong, who has won two consecutive K League 1 titles and coached the national team in the past, was the first choice. Other incumbent managers, such as Jeju United’s Kim Hak-bum and FC Seoul’s Kim Ki-dong, were also mentioned as possible candidates, which angered fans of the clubs. They criticized the move as “disrespectful to the league” for trying to remove a manager before the K League’s start. The K-League coach unwittingly bowed his head like a criminal. The Power Enhancement Committee, at its second meeting three days later, decided to appoint an interim coach in March. The KFB proved itself to be a public opinion-driven organization with no direction.

Gwangju FC coach Lee Jung-hyo said, “I wonder what kind of soccer (the KFA) thinks about the national team. They should bring in the right coach. They only think about famous coaches and don’t think about philosophy,” he criticized. Pohang Steelers head coach Park Tae-ha, who served as a member of the power strengthening committee when Klinsmann stepped down, also lamented the situation, calling it “abnormal” for the association’s administration.

Kim Hak-bum, who has also been named as a candidate for the next head coach, reacted with disbelief, saying, “It’s none of my business. It’s up to the Power Enhancement Committee to decide.”

The KFA even sent an unusual text message to journalists ahead of the media day asking them to refrain from asking questions about the national team. The K League issue has been overshadowed by the KFA‘s clumsy administration.

Meanwhile, the Power Enhancement Committee is scheduled to hold its third meeting on Nov. 27 to finalize and announce the appointment of an interim leader. The prevailing view is to leave the job to Hwang Sun-hong, who is in charge of the Olympic team.

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