PAJU -- The capability to communicate actively and smoothly with players appeared to be the most important criterion in South Korea's search for new national team boss as the country decided to go with Shin Tae-yong for the World Cup qualification.
The Korea Football Association technical committee, led by Kim Ho-gon, on Tuesday announced that Shin will be the skipper for the South Korean men's senior squad. The 46-year-old will lead the Taeguk Warriors through the 2018 FIFA World Cup, should South Korea qualify for the tournament.
Shin's appointment comes at an important time for South Korea, as it tries to overcome pains from the Uli Stielike era and accomplish its ninth consecutive World Cup appearance.
South Korea remained stuck at 13 points with four wins, a draw and three losses, remaining in second place in Group A in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. They're barely holding on to the final automatic qualification spot, with Uzbekistan only one point behind.
Iran have already secured their spot with 20 points. The top two teams from Groups A and B will advance directly to the World Cup in Russia. Two third-place teams must go through playoffs for their final chance.
South Korea are scheduled to host Iran on Aug. 31 and face Uzbekistan in Tashkent on Sept. 5 to close out the qualifying stage.
When asked why the KFA chose Shin for the job, Kim said the technical committee members believe Shin's communication skills will put the national team back on track.
"Shin previously worked as the assistant coach for the national team and that's why he knows the players more than anyone else," Kim said at a press conference at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul. "One of his specialties is his communication skills, so he will make the team atmosphere great again. He will bring back the team together."
Shin is known for his "brother-like leadership" that he displayed with young footballers. He recently managed South Korea at the FIFA U-20 World Cup at home, where they suffered a round of 16 exit, and last year, he led South Korea at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games and helped them reach the quarterfinals.
Under German coach Stielike, South Korea showed some problems from the inside. The former boss at times threw his players under the bus in the media and criticized the players for their failure to execute his tactics. At one point, Stielike even warned the players that he would consider stern punishment for anyone who talked about the team atmosphere to outsiders.
Players in turn have also questioned Stielike's choice of formations, while team chemistry was falling apart.
Shin is expected to establish his system starting with better communication with the players. At the U-20 World Cup, Shin did his best to keep the pressure off the young players by allowing cell phone use and talking freely with them to create a comfortable team atmosphere.
No one knows whether Shin will use the same "brother-like leadership" for the senior team, but what he needs to do is to make the team one unit before South Korea take on Iran at home. The KFA believes that Shin will complete the task.
"The players on the national team these days think and act differently than the players in the past," a technical committee member said under condition of anonymity. "In this aspect, the technical committee members highly valued Shin's communication skills that he showed with the Olympic team and the U-20 team." (Yonhap)