The South Korean men's national football team on Tuesday appointed a chief assistant coach to help their beleaguered boss Uli Stielike.
The Korea Football Association said Jung Hae-sung will be the top assistant to Stielike and will work with the Taeguk Warriors until the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, should South Korea qualify for football's showpiece event.
ung Hae-sung, then-head of the referees committee at the Korea Football Association, speaks at a press conference in Seoul. Jung was named chief assistant coach to Uli Stielike on the men's national team on April 18, 2017. (Yonhap)
Jung, 59, previously served on the national team bench at the 2002 and 2010 FIFA World Cups, working under Guus Hiddink and then Huh Jung-moo. South Korea reached the semifinals at the former and made it to the round of 16 in the latter.
Jung has also been the head coach for the K League Classic clubs Jeonnam Dragons and Jeju United.
"I know South Korean football fans' concerns and outcries more than anyone," Jung said through the KFA. "I will work hard with a sense of duty. I will do my best to help the head coach and the players."
Stielike has been in hot water for months following a string of mediocre matches in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 World Cup. In their two most recent matches, South Korea dropped to China 1-0 on the road and eked out a 1-0 win over Syria at home.
While angry fans here have called for Stielike's head, the KFA technical committee decided to stick with the German coach and offered instead to bolster his coaching staff with an experienced tactician.
"The KFA technical committee decided that Jung is the right person since he has abundant experience as a national team coach and achieved good results at major competitions," the KFA said in a statement. "The KFA reached a contract with Jung after earning consent from him and Stielike."
The KFA said Stielike and his existing back room staff, including assistant coaches Carlos Armua and Seol Ki-hyeon along with goalkeeper coach Cha Sang-kwang, had their first meeting with Jung at a Seoul hotel to discuss plans for the team operations.
In the final World Cup qualification round, South Korea are in second place among six nations in Group A with 13 points from four wins, one draw and two losses, four points behind Iran and just one ahead of Uzbekistan. Only the top two nations will earn automatic World Cup berths, and the third-place team must go through a playoffs. South Korea have made the past eight World Cup finals.
South Korea's next qualifying match will be against Qatar in Doha on June 13.
The KFA said Jung will meet with the media Wednesday ahead of the KFA Cup match between FC Seoul and FC Anyang at Seoul World Cup Stadium to talk about his new job. (Yonhap)