Troubled football club hires new coach

Troubled South Korean football club Seongnam FC announced the signing of a new head coach on Thursday.

Seongnam, which got relegated to the second-division K League Challenge for next year, said Park Kyung-hoon will be at the helm starting in 2017. Park, 55, formerly coached the under-17 national team and then K League club Jeju United from 2010 to 2014.

Seongnam, a proud franchise with a record seven domestic championships, lost a spot in the top-flight K League Classic this year, after losing to Gangwon FC in a promotion playoff last month.

Seongnam struggled all season under Kim Hak-bum, who was replaced by interim Gu Sang-bum in September.

Then before the promotion playoff, Gu abruptly left his position, citing mental and physical fatigue. Seongnam handed the reins over to assistant Byun Sung-hwan, former youth team coach for Seongnam with no prior professional coaching experience, for what would be the club's most important matches of the year. The club also kept the change a secret until the day of the first playoff match.

Byun couldn't save the club from disgrace, and Park said Thursday he's looking forward to the challenge of restoring respectability.

"I feel a heavy weight of responsibility," Park said through the club. "But I'd like to see this crisis as an opportunity to turn things around."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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