It’s the Olympic qualifying round in April… Hwang Sun-hong, the ‘two jobs’ for the national team coach Sae-dal Du Game


Hwang Sun-hong (56), who will lead the Korean national men’s soccer team under age 23 with the aim of the 2024 Paris Olympics, will also serve as the interim head coach of the adult national team. The Korea Football Association plans to appoint an official coach in early May.

Chung Hae-sung, chairman of the Korea Football Association`s national soccer team reinforcement committee, said in a report on the results of the first, second and third meetings at the Seoul Football Center on Thursday that he appointed Hwang as the interim head coach of the national team. “We agreed on a leader who does not have a team or who belongs to the association, and Hwang was the top candidate among the three candidates. I offered to take the coach post on the 25th, but Hwang accepted it the next day,” Chung said. “If the results are not good, I will take full responsibility as the head of the committee.” “We will discuss it from a long-term perspective from the next meeting. We will select an official head coach through transparent procedures by early May,” Chung stressed.

The Power Enhancement Committee agreed at the first meeting on the 21st to appoint a formal head coach, but changed its direction to a temporary head coach system at the second meeting three days later. While the candidates were narrowed down to domestic leaders, fans’ opposition intensified as K League 1 current head coaches such as Ulsan HD coach Hong Myung-bo were mentioned. As a result, it was judged that it was too much to start verifying the official coach immediately.

Hwang will lead the second consecutive match against Thailand in the second qualifying round for the 2026 North-Central American World Cup, which is scheduled on April 21 and 26. The national Olympic team will also participate in the West Asian Football Confederation (WAFF) U23 Championship, which will be held in Saudi Arabia from April 18 to 26, and the coaches will be responsible for the event. Hwang will return to Qatar in April at the final qualifying round for the Asian region for the 2024 Paris Olympics and the 2024 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Asian Cup.

“We agonized a lot when we were asked to cooperate, but we came to the conclusion that it should be of some help to the difficult situation,” Hwang said. “We are concerned because the Olympic qualifying round is tight, but we will closely consult with the coaches as usual. We will do our best to finish the senior national team with good results.”

Hwang, who made his debut as the head coach of the K League 1 Busan I’Park in 2008, served as the Pohang Steelers coach for five seasons from 2011 and won the K League 1 and FA Cup. In the 2018 season in Seoul and the 2020 season in Daejeon Hana Citizen, he stepped down due to his poor performance, but after taking over as the coach of the under-23 national team in 2021, he succeeded in making a comeback by 핑크알바 winning the gold medal at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games the following year.

Hwang has a task left to unite the team at a time when former coach Jurgen Klinsmann was replaced. The Korean national team faced the current crisis when it was revealed on the 6th, the day before the semi-final against Jordan in the 2023 AFC Qatar Asian Cup. Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain) visited and reconciled with Son Heung-min (Tottenham) in London, England, but the scars of the division remain.

The coach also needs to find a customized tactic that combines world-class players including Lee Kang-in, Son Heung-min and Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich) who teamed up at the Hangzhou Asian Games. Hwang plans to form a coaching staff soon.

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