SPORTS

Natl. football federation likely to discuss Hiddink issue next week

By Yonhap
  • Published : Sept 20, 2017 - 14:28
  • Updated : Sept 20, 2017 - 14:28
South Korea's football governing body is likely to discuss Guus Hiddink's role for the men's national team next week, an official said Wednesday, after the Dutch tactician expressed his intention to help the Taeguk Warriors.

The official with the Korea Football Association said its technical committee will hold a meeting next week. Although the committee has set up the meeting ostensibly to go over the national team's last two World Cup qualifying matches against Iran and Uzbekistan, Hiddink's possible contribution to South Korean football is also expected to be up for discussion, according to the official.
 
In this file photo taken Sept. 14, 2017, former South Korea national football team head coach Guus Hiddink speaks to reporters at a hotel in Amsterdam. (Yonhap)

"Since Hiddink said he is willing to take on any role to help South Korean football, technical committee members will be able to discuss that topic," the official said on the condition of anonymity. "If the technical committee can't decide, it could be discussed in a KFA executive meeting later."

Hiddink, who led South Korea to the 2002 FIFA World Cup semifinals, told reporters in Amsterdam last week that he is willing to help the national team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup if the KFA wants him. The 70-year-old said he is thinking more of an advisory role rather than a coaching position at the moment.

South Korea earlier this month qualified for the 2018 World Cup under head coach Shin Tae-yong, who was hired in July after Uli Stielike's ousting. He managed South Korea to their ninth consecutive World Cup appearance but was criticized for the team's poor performance in the last two qualifying matches, both of which ended in scoreless draws.

The South Korean football community has been abuzz since last week, after local media, citing Roh Je-ho, secretary-general of the nonprofit Guus Hiddink Foundation in Seoul, reported that Hiddink was eyeing a coaching job. The report came only hours after South Korea clinched a World Cup finals spot with Shin at the helm, after a scoreless draw in Uzbekistan on Sept. 5.
 
In this file photo taken Sept. 7, 2017, South Korea national football team head coach Shin Tae-yong waves to fans at Incheon International Airport, located 40 kilometers west of Seoul. (Yonhap)

While calls from South Koreans to bring Hiddink back as head coach are increasing -- with some even posting their requests on the official website of the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae -- the KFA has rejected the possibility of Hiddink replacing Shin. The KFA has, however, said it is ready to listen to advice from the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager when the team needs help.

Hiddink is expected to meet Shin and KFA officials in Moscow next month, when the national team plays a friendly match against Russia. Hiddink, who coached Russia from 2006 to 2010, reportedly played a crucial role in helping South Korea set up the friendly versus the 2018 World Cup hosts.

Meanwhile, the technical committee will also discuss the hiring of the under-23 team head coach. The new boss for the U-23 squad will have to prepare for the 2018 Asian Football Confederation U-23 Championship in China, as well as the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, and possibly the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. (Yonhap)