KFA picks five faves for national team manager

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KFA picks five faves for national team manager

Korea’s football governing body has narrowed its search for a national team manager to five candidates.

“The technical committee has narrowed the list of candidates from between 12 and 13 to five,” said a senior KFA official yesterday. “Choi Kang-hee, Cho Kwang-rae, Hwang Sun-hong, Kim Ho-goan and Chung Hae-soung are the remaining candidates to my knowledge.”

In an effort to replace Huh Jung-moo, who became the first Korean manager to lead Korea to the Round of 16 on foreign soil at the 2010 South Africa World Cup, the Korea Football Association’s technical committee had announced last week it had 12 to 13 candidates from a pool of current and former K-League managers.

The KFA has been looking for a new manager to guide the team in the upcoming Asian Cup slated for next January in Qatar and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Coming off a successful showing at the 2010 World Cup, KFA officials are focused on ending a 51-year spell without an Asian Cup title. Korea won the inaugural Asian Cup tourney in 1956 and defended its title in 1960 but has been unable to win one since.

With less than six months remaining until the Asian Cup, the technical committee had sought Huh’s chief assistant Chung Hae-soung as its top choice. According to several of the committee members, Chung’s knowledge of Huh’s system and players made him a top candidate. But with Chung declining the offer, the committee has been reviewing other domestic candidates. Despite his refusal, Chung still remains on the final list of candidates.

The panel has ruled out the possibility of recruiting a candidate from abroad, even though most of Huh’s predecessors were from overseas.

Choi, 51, is the manager of the defending champions, Jeonbuk Motors. A defender in his playing days, Choi played in all three group stage matches at the 1990 Italy World Cup.

Cho, 56, manages the Gyeongnam FC and is respected around the league as a tactician and for having an eye for discovering young prospects.

Hwang, 42, is considered one of the best forwards of his generation and was a member of the 2002 World Cup squad that made a run to the semifinals. Hwang has been managing the Busan I’Park since last season.

Kim, 59, is the manager of Ulsan Hyundai and is best known for leading the 2004 Olympic squad to the quarterfinals in Athens.

KFA’s technical committee will hold a meeting next week to make their final decision on the new manager ahead of an international friendly match scheduled for August 11. The opposing team has yet to be determined but Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Cameroon are some of the names being mentioned.

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