SEOUL, March 22 (Korea Bizwire) – Former South Korea football coach Hong Myun-bo said Thursday he wants to see the national players’ “fangs” at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Hong, who now works as the general secretary at the Korea Football Association (KFA), said he hopes the national team shows its fighting spirit like a tiger, the animal that symbolizes South Korean football and is engraved on the KFA crest.
“South Korea are characterized by their competitive spirit,” Hong said during the event that introduced the national team’s new kit for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. “I’ve coached before and if that spirit is displayed well, we can have unexpected results and deliver a good present to fans.”
South Korea are in Group F with Germany, Mexico and Sweden at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The men’s national team is currently in Dublin, Ireland, to prepare for the upcoming friendly match against Northern Ireland.
Hong, who previously coached South Korea at the 2014 World Cup, said the players and coaches need to stay comfortable around this time.
“We’re less than three months away from the World Cup, and this is a very sensitive time for both players and coaches,” he said. “I’m worried that some players might get injured, but I believe the coaching staff will take care of that issue well.”
Hong, who also coached South Korea’s under-23 squad to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Games, said he also hoped the players can feed off some good energy from the new kit. Designed by the global sports brand Nike, South Korea’s home kit features red shirts with black shorts and red socks.
The away outfit was comprised of all-white shirts, shorts and socks, with the shirt adorned with a “taeguk” pattern inspired by “hallyu,” or the Korean Wave.
“I hope this new kit can bring good luck to our national team,” he said. “Regarding the fabric of the uniform, it made great progress from the past, and it will help our players show their best performance.”
Hong was the captain for the South Korean team that reached the semifinals at the 2002 World Cup. With 136 caps, he is considered one of the best defenders in South Korean football history.