Korean football bears brand of Godfather Kim

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Korean football bears brand of Godfather Kim

Retired manager Kim Ho’s disciples are making a name for themselves, working as some of the top managers in Korea. A closer look at the former national football team and Suwon Bluewings manager’s coaching tree reveals the likes of current national team manager Cho Kwang-rae, Choi Kang-hee (Jeonbuk), Park Han-seo (Chunnam), Wang Sun-jae (Daejeon) and Yoon Sung-hyo (Suwon).

The six former assistants who worked under Kim have taken to his coaching style, which involves an up-tempo style of play with plenty of passing, and are working toward spreading that style of play in Korea.

“It’s pleasing to see some of my former assistants developing into fine managers,” said Kim.

Kim became the first-ever full-time manager of the national football team in 1992 and managed the Taegeuk Warriors at the 1994 U.S. World Cup. Upon being hired the national team manager in 1992, Kim immediately hired Cho as his assistant. Cho assisted Kim before making his managerial debut with the Daewoo Royals (1992-94).

Cho joined Kim’s coaching staff again in 1995 when the Suwon Bluewings club was created. Cho then managed the Anyang Cheetahs (now FC Seoul) from 1999 to 2004, starting a rivalry with Suwon, which remains the biggest rivalry in the K-League.

Park Hang-seo joined Kim’s national team coaching staff as a trainer and served as the manager and coach of Suwon’s farm team.

Choi Kang-hee, Wang Sun-jae and Yoon Sung-hyo are three former players who played under Kim for semi-professional Hanil Bank FC squad. Prior to Kim taking over the reign of the Hanil Bank club, the team had not won a single title in its 11 years of existence and was facing financial difficulties. The trio helped Kim win nine league titles helping to cement Kim’s legend.

Known as one of Asia’s top defenders during his playing days, Kim signed Choi out of Wooshin High School and nurtured him to be one of Korea’s top defenders. Choi went on to make the national team at the age of 29 in 1988 and played in the 1990 Italy World Cup. At the end of his playing days, Choi served as Kim’s trainer, then as assistant for seven seasons at Suwon between 1995 and 2001.

“I was able to enjoy winning seasons with Hanil Bank and made the national team because of Kim,” said Choi. “I learned a lot on how to become a better defender with the help of Kim and learned his winning ways while serving as an assistant in Suwon. I’m still thankful for the help.”

Wang was an accomplished player at the collegiate level with Yonsei University. He served as the top assistant with Suwon starting in 2003 and continued to serve under Kim with Daejeon starting in 2007 until taking over the manager spot last season.

Yoon joined Hanil Bank upon graduating from Yonsei University, foregoing a chance to join the pros. He would follow Kim to Suwon in 1995 as a player before helping to discover and nurture prospects such as Kim Do-heon, Shin Young-rok, Lee Kang-jin, Ko Chang-min and Lee Jong-min.

“Choi, who led Jeonbuk to a league title last season and is at the pinnacle of his coaching career, is leading a stable club,” said Kim. “When I watch Jeonbuk, I see a well-organized and grounded team.

“Yoon is just starting his managerial career. He has an eye for talent and is apt at tuning lineups that he should be able to find success with Suwon.”

Choi’s Jeonbuk and Yoon’s Suwon squads will meet in the quarterfinals of the 2010 FA Cup tournament tonight at Suwon World Cup Stadium starting at 7:30 p.m.

By Choi Won-chang [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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