SEOUL, Sept. 8 (Korea Bizwire) – Presiding over the most successful stretch of South Korean football ever, Guus Hiddink on the sidelines throughout the 2002 FIFA World Cup was a figure of stability, charisma, and most importantly, trust.
Trust in the national football team has always been in somewhat short supply in the “Be the Reds” nation and perhaps deservedly so, as the litany of coaches following Hiddink have proven to be lacking in his magic touch, unable to master the alchemy of converting nationalistic World Cup fervor and hope into faith and trust.
Which is why an ambiguous “report” floating through the media landscape that Hiddink was interested in once more suiting up for South Korea as the national team coach has seen mouths salivating and tongues wagging, with rumors of “If the majority of the Korean people want him, Guus Hiddink will take the head coaching job”.
The fact that the national team’s disappointing showing in Uzbekistan that helped it squeak into a World Cup berth has left fans with a mixture of relief and disappointment may have added fuel to the Hiddink rumors.
To put an end to the fake news, a high-ranking official with the Korea Football Association (KFA) spoke with Yonhap News on September 6, expressing his confusion as to why the Guus Hiddink rumors had surfaced just as the team had booked its place in the World Cup finals.
The official was adamant that no coaching change would be made, saying, “The possibility of Hiddink being selected [as the national team's head coach] is zero.”
“Even if Hiddink offered to take the top job for no pay, you can say that there is no chance of this happening,” he added.
The KFA’s official position is to stand by the terms of present head coach Shin Tae Yong’s contract.
After taking the reins from German predecessor Uli Stielike on July 4, Shin’s contract duration was decided as “until the 2018 Russia World Cup finals”.
The crux of the coaching contract is that Shin would stay on as head coach if he could lead the team to a World Cup finals spot after matches with Iran and Uzbekistan, which he has done.
If Shin can lead the team past the group stages at next year’s World Cup, his contract will be extended. Otherwise, it is believed that his contract will not be renewed.
The KFA official added that the plan going forward will be to review the national team’s performance throughout its two qualifying matches and identify weaknesses and plans for improvement.