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'Charisma' coach Kim Nam-il is open to joining

The committee held a closed second round of talks at the soccer center in Seoul on Wednesday. The committee focused on selecting the head coach for the upcoming two matches against Thailand in the third and fourth rounds of Asian qualifiers for the 2026 North-Central America World Cup, which will take place at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on March 21 and Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand on March 26.

Jung Hae-sung, chairman of the Korea Power Reinforcement Committee, said shortly after the first meeting, "We have opened our doors to overseas markets, but we have domestic markets in mind." This raised suspicions that the incumbent K-League coach was in mind, and criticism poured out. In particular, Ulsan HD coach Hong Myung-bo, FC Seoul coach Kim Ki-dong, and Jeju United coach Kim Hak-beom were on the list of candidates, although the parties did not say anything.

However, there was an outburst of anger with Ulsan fans protesting trucks in front of the soccer center. The committee apparently decided to exclude incumbent workers as much as possible and choose from unemployed workers at the second meeting.

It is known that Park Hang-seo, former coach of the Vietnamese national team, was mentioned during the process. "Many said that there were negative public opinions about current coaches," said an official who was well aware of the situation at the committee. It is said that there was consensus among the unemployed that they temporarily appointed a leader who was good at identifying opponent teams (China, Thailand, and Singapore). That is why Park's name was mentioned."

Park is a representative strategist in Southeast Asia who played for the Vietnamese national team and produced fruitful results. He knows better how to attack the two consecutive games against Thailand in that Vietnam was always losing but started to win after Park took the helm. Thailand lost to Uzbekistan by advancing to the round of 16 at the 2023 Qatar Asian Cup, but its performance was quite impressive.

After resigning from the Vietnamese national team in January last year, Park was recently appointed as an advisor to Park Ninh FC after taking a break. As the team is a third-division team, the situation has become a hot topic of conversation. At the time of signing the contract, Park said, "It is safe to take charge of other national teams," adding, "There is no obstacle to the team's interim leadership.

He is fully equipped with the conditions to save the worst national team. He assisted Guus Hiddink as head coach during the 2002 World Cup Korea-Japan, contributing to his team's advance to the semifinals, and produced numerous results even after serving as the head coach of the Vietnamese national team. Despite his charisma, he not only massages players' feet, but also has "delegation" to the extent that he gave up a business seat on an aircraft for the injured player and was in the economy class.

Hwang Sun-hong's under-23 (U-23) national team's A-team position was also mentioned, but the main reaction was that the issue was too heavy and that it was not easy because there was a qualifying round in Qatar in April. It is better to focus on the U-23 national team for deeper preparation as it is also difficult to advance to the quarterfinals with Japan, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

They checked key players at the Antalya training in Turkiye in January and had warm-up matches, but there is a possibility that the variables that the A team experienced at the Qatar Asian Cup could also affect Hwang Sun-hong. Hwang's tendency to dislike other variables seems to have affected his team.

Another football source said, "Some suggested that former Seongnam FC coach Kim Nam-il should be appointed as coach if Park takes the helm. Of course, it is only if Park takes the helm temporarily."

Kim is the epitome of "charisma." He is famous for his theory of "patta." He assisted Shin Tae-yong during the 2018 World Cup in Russia and is aware of the atmosphere of the A-team. He has no problem with players and bridge roles.

It is said that it is unclear whether Park will only be in charge of interim coach in March or even China (home) and Singapore (away). However, given the current national team's capacity, there is no problem heading from the second qualifying round to the third qualifying round, so the interim coach will take charge until June, and then the A-match schedule will start in September, so there is ample room to appoint a new coach.

Coach Park's response has yet to come out, but he seems to be prepared to make a sacrifice if an official proposal comes. "The people want the temporary job and are willing to accept it if it helps the development of Korean soccer," said an official from coach Park's side.
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Monday, February 26, 2024
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