June 16, 2017 10:33
Korea's national football team manager Uli Stielike was sacked on Thursday after a shock defeat to Qatar early this week in the final round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Lee Yong-soo of the Korea Football Association's technical committee, who recruited the German manager, submitted his resignation following the loss.
The loss to Qatar casts doubts on Korea's hopes of qualifying for the quadrennial event for the ninth straight time.
After a meeting of the technical committee on Thursday, the KFA terminated its contract with Stielike, announcing the decision was reached by mutual consent. Stielike's contract was supposed to run until Korea's elimination at some stage during the upcoming World Cup, assuming it qualified.
After taking up the job in September 2014, Stielike had showed impressive leadership, achieving a runner-up finish at the AFC Asian Cup in Australia in 2015. But Korea has struggled in recent matches.
"I also decided to resign my position as I share the responsibility for not meeting expectations," said Lee, who heads the committee.
It remains to be seen who will rescue the team from its current critical situation, but the KFA said it would try to find a new manager by July.
Stielike's successor is likely to be a Korean. "I think a homegrown manager should fill the position and lead the team," Lee said. With just three months to go until the final qualifying match and the World Cup just a year off, it will be easier for a Korean to develop an understanding with the players," he said.
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