Korean newspaper vouches for Park Hang-seo to replace Klinsmann

After sacking Jurgen Klinsmann on Feb. 16, South Korea began looking for a new head coach as the 2026 World Cup second qualifying round will return at the end of March. However, the Korean Football Association (KFA) will need to consider carefully when selecting the new coach after rushing to appoint Klinsmann, leading to much criticism toward KFA chairman Chung Mong-gyu.

The candidates for the hot seat are all domestic coaches – Hong Myung-bo (Ulsan Hyundai), Kim Hak-bum (Jeju United) and Kim Gi-dong (FC Seoul). However, recruiting any of them at the moment would affect the clubs as the new season will start next month. Another candidate is Hwang Sun-hong, but he is expected to coach the U23 team at the 2024 U23 Asian Cup, an Olympic qualification tournament.

Osen’s solution is to find a temporary option to take over the team until June, which is the right time to appoint an official coach. The newspaper sees Park Hang-seo as a reasonable option for the national team.

Park has not coached any club since leaving Vietnam in January 2023. Currently, he is an advisor for Bac Ninh FC in Vietnam’s second football division, with a contract valid until January 2029, but he will have no difficulty returning to coaching.

“Coach Park is discussing with several federations and clubs,” management company DJ told Osen. “But everything is only in the proposal phase so we cannot decide yet.”

The 66-year-old coach has repeatedly said that he would not coach Vietnam and his home country South Korea in the future. But Osen believes that can change if Park only becomes the coach of South Korea for three months.

It said that with five years of experience in Southeast Asia, Park knows well about Thailand – the opponent that South Korea will play on March 21 and 26 in the World Cup qualifiers.

“South Korea cannot let down its guard against the strongest team in Southeast Asia,” Osen wrote.

Park’s leadership ability during his stint with Vietnam is also expected to restore discipline and team spirit at South Korea national team, which has been chaotic after the recent conflict between Son Heung-min and Lee Kang-in.

“Unifying the team right now is more important than strategy and tactics,” Osen quoted a source from Korean Football Federation (KFA).

On Tuesday, Park’s former assistant coach at Vietnam national team, Lee Young-jin was officially selected by the KFA to join 11 members in a committee to improve the national football team.

This can be an advantage for Park as he and Lee had worked together for many years. However, the committee’s chairman Chung Hae-seong, former technical director of Vietnamese club HAGL and former coach of HCMC FC, doesn’t have a good relationship with Park.

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