A high ranking official at the national football association said Thursday that former men's national team head coach Guus Hiddink will not be returning to the helm, saying such a claim is "ridiculous."
Kim Ho-gon, the Korea Football Association (KFA) Vice President who leads the technical committee, said he feels uncomfortable by a media report that Hiddink could coach the national team again for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Citing a source close to Hiddink, a South Korean news channel reported on Wednesday that the 70-year-old Dutchman, who guided South Korea to the semifinals at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, is willing to return to his old job "as long as the Korean people wanted him back."
Former coach Guus Hiddink (Yonhap)
The report came just hours after South Korea clinched a spot at the 2018 World Cup with head coach Shin Tae-yong, who took over the national team in July following Uli Stielike's ouster.
"This absurd story came out just less than a day that our national football team overcame difficult times and earned a ninth consecutive World Cup appearance," Kim said to reporters at Incheon International Airport. "We really want to know what and who started this story. This is really ridiculous."
Kim said he believes it's a false report, because a person like Hiddink would not have expressed his intention to coach the national team at this moment.
"Hiddink is a great coach and he is a person who knows logic of the situation," he said. "He is not the type of person who makes an offer like that."
Kim reaffirmed the KFA's position that the national football body will fully support Shin to prepare for the World Cup. Shin, who previously led South Korea's under-23 and under-20 squads, is signed through the 2018 World Cup and will coach until South Korea are eliminated.
Kim said the KFA has yet to think about expanding the coaching staff for the national team with the World Cup in Russia just nine months away, but will discuss various measures with Shin to help the Taeguk Warriors.
"Shin has overcome difficult moments," he said. "Now, he needs to show the power of South Korean football at the World Cup finals." (Yonhap)