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New football technical director says in no rush to name nat'l team head coach

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, July 28 (Yonhap) -- Lee Yong-soo, freshly minted as South Korean football's new technical director, said Monday he is in no rush to fill in the head coaching vacancy on the senior national team.

Lee, 54, was named the new head of the technical committee of the Korea Football Association (KFA) last Thursday. The committee's main responsibility is to nominate head coaches for national teams in different age brackets. The position on the senior team has been vacant since Hong Myung-bo resigned earlier this month in the wake of South Korea's winless exit out of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

At his inaugural press conference at the KFA headquarters in Seoul, Lee said he will take his time to find the right person for the job, even though South Korea has two friendly matches scheduled for early September.

"Trying to fight the clock and name the new coach just to have one for the September matches will certainly not help football in this country," said Lee, who served in the same role during the 2002 World Cup, when South Korea, a co-host with Japan, reached the semifinals.

"We will be deliberate in bringing the new bench boss on board. We'll try not to rush things too much," Lee added.

South Korea will host Venezuela on Sept. 5 and Uruguay three days later. Lee said having an interim coach for those matches is a possibility and said he hopes Hong's replacement will at least be in the stands to watch one of the two games.

Several names have been mentioned in foreign news reports as potential candidates for the South Korean job. Lee acknowledged he has been contacted by several coaches who expressed their interest in the position but refused to offer further details.

He said he will chair his first technical committee meeting on Wednesday and he plans to review about 15 South Korean candidates and 15 international hopefuls during the occasion.

Lee said the ideal candidate should have a successful track record, be it internationally or at club level.

"Personally, I think coaching experience counts the most, whether (the candidates) have been winners either at World Cups or at club competitions," Lee said. "Their leadership skills and character are important, too. These are harder to quantify, but we will review all candidates, South Koreans or foreigners, all closely."

Lee said a new coach must make tactical adjustments for South Korea so that the Asian side can keep up with the latest developments in international football.

As a television analyst, Lee followed the recent World Cup closely. He noted that teams became more defensive-minded and tried to outnumber their opponents in their own zone, while relying on speedy and skillful players to score goals on counterattacks.

"Our players have good speed but they need to work on their individual skills and their touch around the net," Lee said, putting his analyst hat back on momentarily. "Against stronger opponents, we have done better when we were playing strong defense and a quick transition game."

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