The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee said Cha has been named as its "sports hero" for 2017. The 64-year-old took the honor after a panel of experts at the KSOC's sports hero selection committee evaluated his contributions to sports development and national prestige.
Cha is the first footballer to be inducted into South Korea's Sports Hall of Fame. The KSOC said the ceremony for his induction will be staged in Seoul on Nov. 29.
|Retired South Korean footballer Cha Bum-kun speaks at a sports event in Seoul on Sept. 27, 2017. (Yonhap)|
Cha is arguably considered the best footballer South Korea has produced. He holds the most appearance and the highest goal scoring record for the South Korean national team after netting 59 goals in 136 matches.
Cha, who hung up his boots in 1989, is also a two-time UEFA Cup winner with German clubs Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen. He scored 98 goals in 308 matches in German Bundesliga. As a coach, he managed the national team at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and South Korean pro clubs Ulsan Hyundai and Suwon Samsung Bluewings.
Since 2011, the KOC's Hall of Fame has been honoring those who promoted South Korea internationally with sports-related activities. It not only evaluates their achievements, but also their adequacy as a role model for society and how they overcame obstacles.
Previous inductees include late Sohn Ki-jung, who won the marathon event at the 11th Summer Olympics in 1936 when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule; former wrestler Yang Jung-mo, South Korea's first Olympic champion; and Park Shin-ja, former MVP at the World Women's Basketball Championships. Last year, the KSOC selected Kim Yu-na, who won South Korea's first ever Olympic gold medal in figure skating. (Yonhap)