SEOUL: The Korea Football Association have appointed former Fulham forward Seol Ki-hyeon as assistant coach to national team manager Uli Stielike, the KFA said on Monday.
Seol was part of the 2002 World Cup squad that reached the semi-finals on home soil, scoring the equalizer against Italy in the last 16 before Ahn Jung-hwan gave the Koreans a stunning 2-1 win with a ‘golden goal’.
South Korea’s qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup finals under German Stielike has been far from plain sailing, and while they are second in Group A behind Iran they are just a point ahead of Uzbekistan in third.
The top two from Groups A and B qualify automatically for the World Cup in Russia while the third-placed teams will meet to decide who goes into a CONCACAF-Asian Zone playoff for a place at the finals.
KFA technical director Lee Yong-soo said they had been looking for a coach from Europe to fill the vacancy left by Shin Tae-yong, who took over the under-20 squad late last year, but were unable to find a suitable replacement.
“We contacted several coaches from Europe but couldn’t agree conditions and since we couldn’t afford to spend more time looking we chose from a pool of domestic coaches,” Lee said in a statement.
“Having spent much of his career in Europe, Seol will be able to understand how a foreign manager works. He also brings a lot of football knowledge and experience to the table and this will be a big help to Stielike.”
Seol spent the early part of his career in Belgium with Royal Antwerp and Anderlecht before moving to England, where he played for Wolves, Reading and Fulham. He played for the national team for 10 years, winning more than 80 caps.
(Reporting by Chae Yun Hwan; Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)