Football legend Cha Bum-kun inducted into Korean Sports Hall of Fame

By Yonhap
  • Published : Nov 29, 2017 - 15:10
  • Updated : Nov 29, 2017 - 15:10

South Korean football legend Cha Bum-kun was inducted into the country's Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

Cha joined other sporting legends in a ceremony in Seoul organized by the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee.

KSOC has been naming "Korean Sports Heroes" each year since 2011. Previous inductees include Sohn Kee-chung, the 1936 Olympic marathon champion who ran under the Japanese flag, former wrestling Olympic champion Yang Jung-mo, ex-International Olympic Committee Vice President Kim Un-yong and the 2010 Olympic figure skating gold medalist Kim Yu-na.

In this file photo taken Nov. 2, 2017, South Korean football legend Cha Bum-kun speaks at a press conference in Seoul. Cha was inducted into South Korea`s Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 29, 2017. (Yonhap)

Cha is the first football player to enter the Hall of Fame. He's considered one of the very best in his sport that South Korea has seen.

Cha holds the national team records for most appearances, with 136, and most goals, with 59. But it was in the Bundesliga in Germany where Cha truly built his legacy.

He starred in the top German competition from 1978 to 1989, netting 98 goals in 308 matches. He won two UEFA Cups, one each with Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen.

Cha reached double figures in goals in seven consecutive seasons starting with the 1979-1980 campaign with Frankfurt.

After his retirement, Cha was voted Asia's Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics in 1999.

In his post-playing career, Cha coached South Korea at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. He also coached two domestic clubs, Ulsan Hyundai and Suwon Samsung Bluewings, and captured two K League championships and one FA Cup title with Suwon.

When not coaching, Cha has also been a popular television analyst.

Cha was nominated for the Hall of Fame last year but lost out to Kim Yu-na in the voting by the public and the Hall's evaluation committee. At his induction ceremony Wednesday, Cha said he knew he stood no chance against the former figure skater, and he would have voted for Kim himself.

"But with Kim Yu-na already in, I figured I'd have my chance this year," Cha quipped.

Turning more serious, Cha said: "I am really proud of this. This means more to me than being named the top Asian player of the 20th century." (Yonhap)