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FOOTBALL Korea coach quits after taking team to World Cup

Lacklustre campaign ensures Choi leaves role despite qualification for Brazil 2014

Reuters
June 19, 2013

Seoul: The Korea Football Association has confirmed Choi Kang-hee’s exit as coach of the national team and begun the search for a replacement to lead the side at the 2014 World Cup.

South Korea reached their eighth consecutive World Cup finals by finishing runners-up in Group A of Asian qualifying, but only secured their place on goal difference after losing 1-0 at home to Iran on Tuesday.

Choi took over in December 2011 and said at the time his only mission was to get the team to Brazil and that he would step aside after qualification.

There was little chance of him being asked to reconsider after an unimpressive end to qualifying, where the Koreans lost twice to Iran, drew with Lebanon and scored lacklustre wins over Qatar and Uzbekistan.

“The KFA has decided to accept Choi’s wish to resign at the end of his contract after having completed the team’s qualification for Brazil in 2014,” the KFA said in a statement

“We thank him for his efforts and wish him well.” Local media speculated former skipper Hong Myong-bo was in the running to replace Choi as coach

Hong, who coached the Olympic team to a bronze medal at the London Games last year, captained South Korea to fourth place at the 2002 World Cup under Guus Hiddink.

Meanwhile, Jordan Football Association Vice President Salah Sabra hailed the national team’s 1-0 win over Oman that keep their hopes alive of reaching a first World Cup.

Ahmad Hayel Ebrahim scored with a diving header to set off a frenzy in the packed stadium in Amman, with fans waving Jordanian flags and holding their children aloft in celebration.

Jordan and Uzbekistan will now meet on September 6 and 10. The winner of that series will play the fifth-place team from South America for a place at the World Cup. That play-off is scheduled November 15 and 19.

“This is a great win for Jordan,” Sabra said. “We are looking forward to getting ready for Uzbekistan after this crucial win against Oman. Jordan is prepared for all scenarios at this stage.”

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