Coach Huh proves the critics wrong
Seoul: After two World Cups under the guidance of Dutch coaches, South Korea go to South Africa under the leadership of one of their own – Huh Jung-moo.
In his second spell as national team head coach, many believed Huh’s appointment reflected a lack of vision on the part of the Korea Football Association (KFA) and would set the side back years in terms of tactics and team culture.
However, Huh has confounded his critics by embracing the youth and dynamism currently found in South Korean soccer and the superb form of his Europe-based players has given the side an attacking edge they have lacked for years.
The South Koreans flourished under Dutch coaches Guus Hiddink and Dick Advocaat but Huh has won over his sceptics by leading the team through qualifying with an unbeaten record.
The 2010 World Cup finals will be an opportunity for Huh to reacquaint himself with Argentina coach Diego Maradona.
Huh was assigned to mark Maradona during the 1986 finals in Mexico, a bruising encounter the Argentine recalls none too fondly.
“I remember Huh very well, of course,” Maradona said. “In 1986 the Koreans played taekwondo, not football, against us.”
Huh scored a goal against Italy at the 1986 finals and went to the following two editions of the World Cup, first as the team’s fitness trainer and then as assistant coach.