Korea Republic have named a former national coach to oversee its FIFA World Cup™ squad as it battles to gain superiority over regional rivals.
Lee Hoi-Taek, 62, will head the technical committee at the Korea Football Association. His predecessor resigned over the squad's lacklustre performance during its Asian qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.
Lee led the national squad in the 1988 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar and the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. He also headed the powerful technical committee for about a year and a half until 2005.
The committee controls all matters related to the national team, ranging from selection of players and coaches to analysis of rival teams. Korea Republic finished first in their group in the third Asian qualifying round and have advanced to the final round that begins in September.
But they were held to a draw three times in six regional qualifiers, and their world ranking has been on a steady decline. "I am undertaking the squad at a difficult time," Lee told reporters. "I'll do my best to serve the team so it can reach the World Cup finals smoothly."
Spokesman Yoo Young-chul said the association picked a veteran "to watch over the team ahead of important fixtures" including the final FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Korea Republic will face Korea DPR, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Group B for the final Asian qualifying round that will last until June next year.