Professional soccer K League 2 (second division) club Gyeongnam FC has notified head coach Seol Ki-hyun of his departure ahead of the final game with promotion at stake.
According to the soccer world on the 23rd, Gyeongnam CEO Ji Hyun-cheol conveyed to Seol, whose contract runs until this year, after the home game against Gimcheon Commerce (1-1 draw) on the 11th that he will not re-sign with the team regardless of whether they are promoted or not.
As a result, Seol’s four-year partnership with Gyeongnam is expected to come to an end soon.
A former Korea-Japan World Cup legend in 2002, Seol became the head coach of Gyeongnam in 2020 after serving as the head coach of Sungkyunkwan University.
He caught the eye of fans early on with his attacking style of soccer, but the club has yet to achieve the promotion they were hoping for.
In his debut season, the team missed out on promotion after conceding a last-minute penalty in the promotion playoffs (PO) against regular-season leaders Suwon FC.
Gyeongnam finished sixth in the 2021 season and was eliminated from the promotion PO in the 2022 season.
It’s not surprising that a club would choose not to re-sign a second division coach who hasn’t won promotion in three seasons.
However, the “timing” of the notification to Seol is a head-scratcher.
Gyeongnam has been very poor in August and September, with two wins, two draws, and four losses. If the club wanted to make an early decision on the coach’s departure to gain additional momentum for promotion, it would have been the right time.
However, the club informed him that they would not be renewing his contract ahead of the final game, when they should have been focusing on advancing to the promotion POs.
Gyeongnam currently sits in fourth place in the K League 2 (54-53 points). They have been in a tight race with fifth-place Bucheon FC (54-41 points) and sixth-place Jeonnam Dragons (53-54 points) for a ticket to the Promotion PO.
Gyeongnam, which is in the most favorable position among the three teams, will secure the Promotion PO ticket on its own if it wins its away match against Gimpo FC on the 26th.
A Gyeongnam official said, “The news that the club is not re-signing their manager has created a chaotic atmosphere in the squad ahead of an important game. It seems that the head of the club, who is not from the soccer world, made a judgment without knowing the sentiment.”
“If the club wants to hold me accountable for not capitalizing on three chances, I admit it,” Seol told Yonhap News Agency, adding, “We still have a chance to get promoted this year, so I will do my best to produce results.”
Inside and outside Gyeongnam, coaches A and B, who led the citizen club in K League 1, and coach C, who resigned this year after leading a K League 2 club, are already being talked about as candidates for the next manager.
An official from Gyeongnam said, “Some are already in the mood for ‘election campaigns’ by greeting officials from the Metropolitan Police Department.” “The old pattern of winning the civic team manager position through ‘political power’ rather than skill is about to be repeated.” 파워볼