Time to close revolving door of coaching jobCoaching is a strange job. You win games and you are doing ok. That makes sense. You lose a game and people all but throw a Molotov cocktail at you.
Yet according to some sources, people are lining up for one particular coaching position. Yep, the Korea Football Association said that it has direct and indirect confirmation from 10 candidates who would accept the vacant head coaching job of the national soccer team if offered.
This time, the association claims that the job’s tenure is guaranteed till the 2006 World Cup. It better be. If a successor to Coelho takes over the team in June, he’ll have roughly two years to get it into shape. There is just no time to experiment with the head coach’s spot.
But I must admit I am deeply worried about the whole selection process. First, the relatively short time in which the association drew up the potential candidate list of 10 foreign coaches does not sit well with me.
Right around the time of Coelho’s departure, Bruno Metsu, who led Senegal to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, and Senol Gunes, coach of the Turkish squad that finished third in the same tournament, were names mentioned frequently by members of the association’s technical committee.
I never heard a peep about other candidates such as Mick McCarthy, who is currently leading Premier League side Sunderland in England and was the former head coach of Ireland.
It makes one wonder how the association compiled its list. The announcement of the list came last week, and according to my spies, the research was initiated less than a month before.
Inside the KFA, there is a department responsible for handling all international matters, basically anything that involves speaking English, or at this time, researching foreign coaches. It was this department that came up with 16 candidates in the first place, not the technical committee; the latter’s role was to chop off six names to arrive at the final list.
It’s no wonder that soccer experts such as Shin Mun-son, a respected soccer TV analyst, pointed out that the selection was done by amateurs.
So other than trying to appease the public by firing Coelho and replacing him with a big name as soon as possible, I don’t really see a genuine effort by the association.
Except for Guus Hiddink, no head coach since 1992 has ever finished his tenure. In other words, the job’s life span has always been determined by the volatile mood of the fans and the unrealistic goals set by the association. A dangerous combination indeed.
The previous yardstick used to measure the national team’s success was making it to the round of 16 in the World Cup. Now that we have a fourth place finish in the books, are we going to assume that going to the round of 16 is a gimme? I sincerely hope that’s not the case.
What happened at the last World Cup was great. But let’s face it; it was something close to a miracle.
Building up our domestic league, setting realistic goals and not caving to public opinion are the tasks at hand for the association. As for selecting the new head coach, I just hope the association does not go with the most popular choice as voted by Internet surfers.
The current deadline to select a coach, the end of the month, seems awfully short. Preparing for the Asian Cup is important, but there is certainly more at stake.
by Brian Lee