S. Korea to play World Cup qualifiers under caretaker manager again

Former K League head coach Kim Do-hoon was named the caretaker manager for the South Korean men's national football team Monday, with the country having failed to fill the coaching vacancy for over three months. The Korea Football Association (KFA) said Kim will be the temporary bench boss for South Korea's upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifying matches next month -- at Singapore on June 6 and against China at home on June 11. The KFA has not yet found a full-time replacement for Jurgen Klinsmann, who was fired on Feb. 16 following South Korea's semifinal loss at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup. South Korea also played two World Cup qualifying matches in March under a caretaker boss, with Hwang Sun-hong, then head coach of the men's under-23 national team, asked to pull double duty. The KFA had hoped to name the new full-time coach by early May, after narrowing down the list of candidates from 11 to three, all of them foreign nationals, by late April. However, Jesse Marsch, who was believed to have been the front-runner, took over the head coaching position of Canada last week instead. Over the weekend, Turkish media reported that Senol Gunes, former Turkey national team boss, had agreed to a three-year pact with South Korea, but the KFA said such reports were incorrect. And with the clock ticking down on the next set of World Cup qualifying matches, the KFA opted for the temporary solution once again. "Negotiations to hire the new men's national team head coach are still ongoing, and it's possible that they won't be finalized before the next matches in June," the KFA said in a statement. "Our National Teams Committee met earlier today to discuss this scenario and decided to hire Kim Do-hoon as the caretaker manager." Kim, 50, has coached three different clubs in the K League, most recently Ulsan HD FC from 2017 to 2020. He led Ulsan to the AFC Champions League title in 2020. He also coached Lion City Sailors in Singapore from 2021 to 2022 and led them to the 2021 Singapore Premier League ch ampionship. The two matches against Singapore and China are the last two contests for South Korea in the second round of the Asian qualification for the 2026 World Cup. South Korea are leading Group C with 10 points from three wins and a draw. The top two teams at the end will advance to the third round. The Taegeuk Warriors have played at every World Cup since 1986. Source: Yonhap News Agency