Football association shoots wide of the goalBruno Metsu is not coming. And the main reason for that isn’t because he was greedy, but because officials at the Korea Football Association acted like amateurs, lost face, and then tried to save what was left of their honor.
A disaster was in the making the moment the association announced that Metsu would head the national squad without having actually inked a deal. From the day the KFA announced its 10-candidate list, there was never really any option other than Metsu, who was the popular choice of the sports tabloids from the beginning. In trying to appease the public, the KFA didn’t conduct a real search, something I pointed out earlier.
Metsu may have withheld the fact that he was also considering an offer from Qatar soccer club Al lttihad, but that’s perfectly within his rights. At the time, KFA officials didn’t know exactly who was vying for Metsu’s services, but they were well aware that he was on the market and that someone had a keen interest in him.
If the KFA was really interested in getting Metsu, it should have prepared a more flexible financial package and gathered some information on what Metsu might command on the open market. If the KFA had enough resources, it could have made a better offer, or not even bothered soliciting his services in the first place.
To assume a coach would come, despite a weaker financial offer, just so he could have the honor of coaching a national team playing for the World Cup is just plain naive.
Money is always the first concern when signing a contract. To believe that coaching Korea carries enough prestige to bridge a financial gap of about $1 million per year is not rational thinking. Metsu isn’t a Korean and the head coaching job of the Korean national squad is a risky job, a fact well known by now.
Just because Guus Hiddink got a certain amount of money does not mean that whoever comes after him cannot command more. The situation has changed drastically. There is now less support, more scrutiny and more of the public pressure that comes with unrealistic expectations to succeed. A guaranteed tenure should be offered along with a more proactive approach to assisting the new head coach.
Instead of determining what the coach needs and offering nothing more, the KFA has to take a look at things that have worked in the past. For instance, having a video analyst is pivotal in international football, but the national squad would probably only use one if the new coach asks for one or brings his own man. The KFA needs to groom its own analysts for the future.
As it is, the KFA will not make the process of selecting a new coach public and will only make an announcement when the actual contract has been signed, something it should have done in the first place. The KFA has lost credibility, and if another fiasco unravels, there might be big changes.
Already there are cries for the head of Chung Mong-joon, president of the KFA, as well as for those of the old guard that has been in place at the association for more than a decade.
The KFA succeeded in bringing the World Cup to Korea, but many people in the soccer community think that’s about the only thing it has done right.
My gut feeling is that a storm is gathering, and only a tiny catalyst will be needed to fell the man in charge of the KFA. One thing is for certain: It will be quite interesting to see how the next month develops.
by Brian Lee
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