|Park Hang-seo (middle) and Guus Hiddink (second from right) and the Korean national team. — AFP/VNA Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam's national team manager Park Hang-seo shared his personal experiences as head coach of the Korean Olympic team at ASIAD 2002 along with his appreciation for his colleague Guus Hiddink.
In 2002, Park Hang-seo replaced Hiddink to lead the U23 Korean national team at the ASIAD. With the home-team advantage, Korea was expected to become the champion but ended up finishing third.
A few days later, Park was fired due to the result and a number of other conflicts between the two sides, including salary issues.
All of this played a crucial role in Coach Park's career.
“Although it's not perfect, I think it's a process that will make me more mature,” Park told Joong Ang UCN.
“When I think back, I feel a little bit of a loss. Later, I realised that I needed to hold back a bit."
“At that time, I was really resentful and angry and thought about miscellaneous things. Now every one of that generation has their own life, so I don't think about it anymore,” said the 63-year-old manager.
After a period of ups and downs, coach Park became Việt Nam’s manager, setting up the team for a series of remarkable achievements.
The Korean coach also shared his feeling about Hiddink, one of the two most influential coaches in his career alongside Kim-ho who managed the Korean team at the 1994 World Cup.
At the 2002 World Cup, Park worked as an assistant under the Dutch manager. Together, they helped the team make history after reaching the semi-final.
Until now, they are the only team in Asia to ever compete in a World Cup semi-final.
“Hiddink is the one who taught me what it takes to be a leader," Park said.
“In our two years together, every day I wrote down his advice like a diary. Until now, when I have a problem, I still read them to find the answer."
“What I remember and think about the most is his advice: "Coach Park, when leading a big team, you absolutely must not turn team members into chess pieces to advance your own interests.”
“When he said: 'Time waits for no one', it sounded like I was being fired. You must make the best out of the team's resources."
“Therefore, if I lead any team, I will listen and do my best, the same as in Việt Nam,” he added.
Currently, coach park is quarantined in Hà Nội. On August 12, he will start working with the players.
The national team had its first training session on August 5 at the Vietnam Youth Football Training Centre.
On August 26, the whole team will fly to Saudi Arabia to prepare for the opening match in the final round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. —VNS