Hong Myung-bo quits

July 9, 2014
Hong's resignation comes a week after the KFA gave the coach a vote of confidence.

Hong’s resignation comes a week after the KFA gave the coach a vote of confidence. 

SEOUL (Yonhap) — Hong Myung-bo, the embattled head coach of the South Korean men’s national football team, announced his resignation from the post on Thursday (KST) in the wake of the country’s winless World Cup, a stunning development only a week after receiving a vote of confidence from the sport’s national governing body.

At a press conference held at the Korea Football Association (KFA) headquarters in Seoul, Hong said he takes the blame for South Korea’s disappointing campaign in Brazil.

Hong coached a total of 19 matches with a record of five wins, four draws and 10 losses.

The former national team captain, who retired having played 135 international matches, the most among any South Korean, takes an unceremonious exit from the top coaching post.

Hong competed in four World Cups, from 1990 to 2002, as a defender and was an assistant coach at the 2006 World Cup. He retired with 135 international caps, the most among any South Korean, and captained the 2002 World Cup team that made a historic run to the semifinals on home soil.

As a head coach, he led South Korea to the quarterfinals at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2009, the country’s best showing in 18 years. Then in 2012, Hong coached the country to the bronze medal at the London Olympics, South Korea’s first-ever Olympic football medal.

This year’s World Cup was essentially the first failure for Hong, who’d so far led a charmed life in football.

The KFA’s initial decision to retain Hong did little to assuage the public’s anger, and on Monday, a local media report said Hong, just weeks before announcing the national team roster, had visited an expensive neighborhood just south of Seoul on a few occasions, hoping to buy land there, and signed off on his purchase on May 15 during the team’s training camp. The report further upset fans who believed Hong should have been concentrating on the national team’s World Cup preparation.

One KFA official said that report might have been the final blow.

“I understand Hong and his family were quite devastated by criticisms directed at their private lives,” the official said. “Hong told us that he could no longer carry on as the coach.”