It’s been just over nine months since Cho Kwang-rae took over the national team, but the manager has acknowledged that he is having a tough time.
Cho said Monday that he was having a difficult time cooperating with the Korea Football Association, saying there is too much intrusion by the governing body.
National team manager Cho Kwang-rae (Yonhap News)
The former Gyeongnam FC manger blamed Lee Hoi-taek, the head of the technical committee, for meddling too much in the selection of players.
“Selecting players is among the most important responsibilities for the manager, and I have a right to choose players for my team,” Cho said during a news conference at the KFA’s office.
On Monday, Cho announced the 27-man squad for the home friendlies against Serbia on June 3 and Ghana on June 7, including some of the country’s rising young stars such as Ji Dong-won and Kim Bo-kyung.
The problem is that the U23 national team is also scheduled to play the Asian qualifier for the London Olympics in June, and the 20-year-old striker Ji and the 21-year-old midfielder Kim are also named for that squad.
According to Cho, the technical committee advised him not to pick up the two young players and allow them to play for the U23 side.
But the hard-nosed manager insisted that he would take the strongest available players for the home friendlies in preparation for 2014 World Cup qualifications, which starts in September.
The manager admitted that he had recently had some trouble with the head of the technical committee.
“He just threw away the list of the squad when I handed it to him, and I have been greatly disturbed by the disrespectful act,” Cho said.
“I think this is wrong. The technical committee has no right to select the players,” he added, requesting the KFA clarify the committee’s role. He also asked why the KFA has been controlling him before conducting media interviews.
Cho, 57, the former manager of Gyeongnam FC, took the helm of the team in July 2010 after Huh Jung-moo stepped down from the post upon returning from the second round of the South Africa World Cup.
His initial goal was to win the Asian Cup title in January and end the country’s 51-year-old title drought. But he failed to do so after losing in a penalty shootout to archrival Japan in the semifinals.
Not content with the third-place finish at the Asian Cup in January, Cho stressed that he would now look beyond the past and focus on the World Cup qualifier in September.
“I think we’re now going in the wrong direction. It’s time for change,” Cho said.
By Oh Kyu-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org