SPORTS

National football director offers to resign following Hiddink controversy

By Yonhap
  • Published : Nov 2, 2017 - 16:16
  • Updated : Nov 2, 2017 - 16:16

South Korean football's technical director Kim Ho-gon decided to step down from his position Thursday after getting embroiled in a controversy over Guus Hiddink's coaching offer and a series of poor national team performances.

Kim said it would be best for the organization and the men's national team if he no longer worked as the Korea Football Association technical committee chief or vice president. The 66-year-old was appointed as the technical director June 26, 11 days after German head coach Uli Stielike was fired for poor results in the final Asian World Cup qualifying campaign.

In this file photo taken Oct. 15, then-football director of the South Korea national team Kim Ho-gon speaks at a press conference at Korea Football Association House in Seoul. (Yonhap)

"I decided to resign because it is the right thing at this moment for the KFA and the national team," Kim said in a statement through the KFA. "I tried my best for football development and the national team's achievement, but many things were not satisfactory because of my lack of ability."

Kim was responsible for hiring former South Korean under-23 side boss Shin Tae-yong as the new head coach for the senior team July 4. Under Shin, South Korea managed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but were slammed by fans for uninspiring performances. The Taeguk Warriors are still winless with the new coach, collecting only two draws and two losses.

In this file photo taken Oct. 15, then-football director of the South Korea national team Kim Ho-gon speaks at a press conference at Korea Football Association House in Seoul. (Yonhap)In this file photo taken Oct. 15, then-football director of the South Korea national team Kim Ho-gon speaks at a press conference at Korea Football Association House in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Kim was at the center of controversy regarding Hiddink's coaching offer. After South Korea confirmed their ninth consecutive World Cup appearance in September, he had a petty war of words with Roh Je-ho, secretary-general of the nonprofit Guus Hiddink Foundation in Seoul, who claimed the KFA had ignored Hiddink's offer to coach the men's national team in June.

Roh said he sent a text message to Kim on June 19 about Hiddink's national team comeback after meeting the former Chelsea manager on June 16, one day after Stielike was fired from his national team coaching job.

Kim first denied he got the message from Roh, but later admitted he was wrong. The former Ulsan Hyundai head coach, who won the 2012 Asian Football Confederation Champions League, said he did see Roh's message, but had to downplay it because it was sent via a mobile messenger.

Roh also claimed that he talked with Kim on the phone. Kim, however, said he has no memory of having the phone conversation.

Some angry fans suspected that the Kim deliberately ignored Hiddink's intentions in the first place, and he was even brought into a parliamentary audit session last month over the issue. Hiddink later made his intentions clear by saying that he would help South Korea without taking an official position with the national team.

Kim, who also coached South Korea at the 2000 Summer Olympics, said he believes with a new technical director the national team will deliver a satisfying performance in the future, and he asked fans' support.

"There are going to be many barriers on South Korea's road to the World Cup, but with strong support from fans, I believe we can overcome the difficulties," he said. "I hope fans and those in the football community give continuous support and love to the national team and head coach Shin." (Yonhap)