Huh Jung-Moo is one of the most experienced coaches in Korea Republic, in terms of his participations in major international competitions. The 55-year-old has taken part in the AFC Asian Cup, the Asian Games, the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament as well as the FIFA World CupÔ, while leading Chunnam Dragons to three Korean FA Cup successes in the past two decades.
After hanging up his boots in 1986, following an illustrious playing career that culminated in that year’s FIFA World Cup in Mexico, Huh joined the coaching staff of Korea Republic as a fitness trainer at Italy 1990. The following year saw him appointed as the assistant coach of Pohang Steelers, where he went on to take the reins in 1993. Huh then temporarily returned to the national team as an assistant coach for Kim Ho, under whose guidance the Taeguk Warriors narrowly missed out on a place in the second round of USA 1994.
His coaching debut for Korea Republic was a friendly with Brazil in Suwon on 12 August 1995, which ended in a 1-0 defeat. Huh subsequently joined his hometown club Chunnam Dragons, where he went on to establish himself as a tournament specialist with successes in the Korean FA Cup in 1997, 2006 and 2007.
However, his second spell in Korea Republic’s hot seat was not so successful. Huh’s charges were defeated 3-2 by Turkmenistan in their opening match at the 1998 Asian Games Football Tournament in Bangkok, before going down 2-1 to hosts Thailand in the quarter-finals. Despite the disappointing results during the transitional period, Huh would be regarded by many later on as the man who picked up talented young players such as Lee Young-Pyo, Seol Ki-Hyeon and Park Ji-Sung, who have become the stalwarts of the Taeguk Warriors.
The autumn of 2000 was probably the busiest time in the coaching career of Huh, who led Korea Republic’s U-23 side at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in September before taking their senior side to the AFC Asian Cup the following month. The young Taeguk Warriors could not overturn the 3-0 defeat by Spain despite winning the remaining group games against Morocco and Chile at Sydney 2000, although their seniors managed to finish third in the continental finals in Lebanon.
After stepping down from the coaching post, Huh served the Korean FA as a technical advisor for the national team under Guus Hiddink at Korea/Japan 2002, before joining the technical committee as its vice chairman in 2004. He was also the senior assistant coach for Johannes Bonfrere during the 2004 Asian Cup in China.
The final chapter of his football life, as he described upon his third appointment as Korea Republic coach in December 2007, has proved to be a success so far. Huh’s charges topped their group with three wins and three draws in the third round of qualifying for South Africa 2010, before going on to claim their place in world football’s showpiece event with two games remaining in the final round of the preliminary competition.