The Korean Football Association, which only looks at cleanliness, has changed its tune.

When Jürgen Klinsmann was named head coach of the South Korea national soccer team in March, it was met with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. There were hopes that the appointment of one of the most highly regarded coaches of all time would carry the momentum from the World Cup round of 16 in Qatar into the next World Cup, and that his influence in European soccer would further empower the Korean players.안전놀이터

On the other hand, the fact that he had been criticized for his lack of integrity during his previous coaching stints with Germany and the U.S. A team was a source of concern and anxiety. There were many issues outside of soccer. Klinsmann, who lives in the U.S. after retiring from active play, was criticized for his frequent absences from the field and staying at his home in the U.S. when he was Germany’s national team coach. In 2020, he took over as head coach of Hertha Berlin in the German Bundesliga, but he caused a stir when he left for the U.S. and unilaterally announced his resignation on his Facebook account amid a dispute with the club and fans. For the next three years, his coaching career was cut short and he worked as a commentator and FIFA technical researcher.

Contrast with Bento, who was based in Goyang City with his coaching staff

Five months into the job, the concerns are becoming a reality. At his inaugural press conference, Klinsmann allayed doubts about his working arrangements, saying, “As the national team manager, of course I will live in Korea.” However, more than 170 days after his appointment, Klinsmann has spent only 67 days in Korea. This is in direct contrast to the KFA’s explanation that the job was conditional on living in Korea. Even then, if you exclude the time he spent with the A team in March and June for A-match digestion, he actually spent just over a month in Korea.

The hiatus in April, when he traveled to Europe to observe and interview European players such as Son Heung-min, Kim Min-jae, and Lee Kang-in, was at least justified. His trip to the United States is the center of controversy. For three weeks in May and early June, he worked remotely from the United States. After the A-Match in June, he traveled to the US again. At the end of July, he returned to the country for a week before leaving again, explaining that he was heading to the U.S. to visit his family for his birthday and will then travel to Europe.

In mid-August, amid growing suspicion in South Korea, he spoke to local media outlets via Zoom, a remote communication service, to address a number of issues. Interviewed via video from his home in the United States, Klinsmann responded to the remote work by saying that “the way we work is changing,” and defended himself as a “workaholic,” saying that he tries to observe players in Europe and keep up with trends in world soccer.

His explanation that his frequent travels are to stay abreast of trends for the sake of Korean soccer was unconvincing. Klinsmann is currently a FIFA technical analyst and UEFA advisor. His trip to Europe includes participation in the UEFA technical committee and the Champions League draw, both of which have no real connection to Korean soccer. He is a regular panelist on ESPN, an American sports channel, and has more comments about Lionel Messi, who plays in the U.S., and Harry Kane, who plays for Bayern Munich and Tottenham, than he does about Son Heung-min and Kim Min-jae.

When asked about the unclear criteria for selecting players and the weakness of the program in discovering new players outside of the already well-established European scene, Dong Mun-seo responded. He said he was looking at “30 or so players,” which only confirms the narrowness of his view of the squad, which is currently a 25-man starting XI.

He has left the task of finding new faces, which can be a costly endeavor, to Korean coach Michael Kim (Kim Young-min) and advisor Cha Doo-ri. When asked how he is observing domestic players, he said, “I’m watching them with WISCOUT.” Wyscout is a platform developed by an Italian company that provides game and player videos. It is a universal method trusted and utilized by scouts, agents, and broadcasters. However, it is difficult to gain insight into a player because the video information can be fragmentary.

The limitations of this way of working were already evident in the A-Match in June. “I didn’t see his game in person,” he said when selecting flanker Ahn Hyun-beom. Ahn started the first game against Peru, but he was unable to showcase his offensive strengths, instead focusing on the big picture role that Klinsmann demands. He was forced to fit into a mold without understanding the player’s characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses.

The comparison to his predecessor, Paulo Bento, is natural. He had four coaches with him, and his entire staff was based in Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do, close to Paju NFC’s main base. Outside of regular vacations in the summer and winter, Ventura spent 90 percent of his time in Korea, which allowed him to keep a list of 70 players with six to seven options for each position and prepare for many variables. “The passion, professionalism, and dedication to the job was impeccable, not only from Ventura, but also from his coaches,” said current Malaysian national team coach Kim Pangon, who appointed Ventura as the chairman of the National Strength and Conditioning Committee.

A virtually freelance approach

Klinsmann’s roster announcement for September’s European A-match was also made in a single press release. Klinsmann’s approach to work is almost freelance. Rather than focusing on the A’s, he’s not involved in other projects or exposed to the media, giving the impression that the A’s are just one of his many jobs. To make matters worse, his coaches are rarely based in the country. Head coach Hirschalk is also working a double job as a commentator in Europe.

The Korean Football Association itself is upset. There is no specific clause in Klinsmann’s contract that requires him to focus on Korean soccer, including the national team. The mention of living in Korea at his inaugural press conference was also seen as a courtesy to allay initial suspicions. Above all, the lack of a control tower to monitor and evaluate the coach has led to Klinsmann’s near-collusion.

It has been pointed out that this is a disaster caused by the one-man leadership of Chung Mong-kyu, the president of the Korean Football Association. The appointment of Klinsmann was deeply influenced by Chung’s personal decision, rather than the system of selecting a coach from the powerful member associations. After failing to re-sign Bento, the search for a new A team coach began, but the existing process led by Michael Mueller was abruptly suspended in mid-February. Chairman Chung, who had previously known and interacted with Klinsmann, took charge of the selection. The appointment of a director should be a multi-faceted evaluation based on a number of criteria, but name recognition came into play.

At the end of the day, Chung is the only person in the federation who can stop Klinsmann from taking over. Until recently, Klinsmann had been at odds with Asian Games head coach Hwang Sun-hong over the call-up of Lee Kang-in and other players for the Hangzhou Asian Games in September. The issue, which was never mediated at the front line, was only resolved when Lee was unable to join the A team during the A-match due to injury.

Klinsmann, who reportedly earns an annual salary of around 2 billion won, is technically an employee of the Korean Football Association, but the current picture is one of an employer doing what an employee wants to do. The A-team coach has a huge influence on the whole of Korean soccer, but Klinsmann’s “work ethic” is abysmal. The KFA has repeatedly said, “We will trust the coach and wait and see.”

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