‘I’ll always remember’ late coach Jong-Hwan Park paid tribute ahead of Tunisia game

Klinsmann’s men observe a minute’s silence before kick-off against Tunisia
Players, spectators, and fans honor the late Jong-Hwan Park

Klinsmann pays tribute to the late former national team coach Park Jong-hwan, who passed away on October 7 at the age of 85, before his first match against Tunisia.

The South Korean national soccer team, led by coach Jürgen Klinsmann, will play Tunisia in its first October A match at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Seoul World Cup Stadium.

Prior to kickoff, the Korea Football Association displayed a memorial photo on the scoreboard to honor Park, who passed away at the age of 85.

Players from both teams lined up at the halfway line and soccer fans in the stands observed a minute’s silence as announced by the stadium announcer. The will to win was evident in the players’ faces as they honored the president.

Earlier, Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) President Gianni Infantino sent a message of condolence to the Korean Football Association (KFA) to mourn the passing of Park.

“I would like to express my deepest condolences on the passing of the deceased, who contributed to the history of Korean football as an outstanding coach for many years, leading the South Korean national team, the U-20 national team and K League clubs,” Infantino said.

“On behalf of footballers around the world, our thoughts are with the family and all those who loved him. We hope this message brings some peace and comfort to those who are grieving. His legacy will be remembered by many.”

On Oct. 10, Park’s funeral was held at the Shinseong-ro Soccer Hall in Seoul as the head of the Korean Football Association.

More than 70 footballers attended the service, including the deceased’s family, KFA president Chung Mong-kyu, senior officials, and Hwang Sun-hong, who won a gold medal at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.

Born in 1938 in Ongjin, Hwanghae province, Park played for Chuncheon High School, Kyung Hee University and the Coal Corporation. In 1960, he represented South Korea at the 2nd Asian Youth Games in Malaysia, where he won the title, and after retirement, he worked as a coach and international referee.

Park’s coaching career began in the mid-1970s, when he led the underdog Jeonnam Machinery Corporation to a national championship. He later took charge of the Seoul Metropolitan Government team and led them to the top of the domestic adult stage several times.

From 1980 to 1983, he was in charge of the U-20 national team, which participated in two World Youth Championships. At the 1983 tournament in Mexico, the team reached the quarterfinals for the first time in FIFA history.

The international media, impressed by the team’s mobility and passing, nicknamed them the “Red Devils,” which later became the name of the South Korean national team supporters.

Park made waves in the K League in 1989 when he took over as head coach of the fledgling professional team Ilhwa Cheonma, winning three consecutive K League championships from 1993 to 1995.

He became the first president of the Korean Women’s Football Association in 2001 and later served as head coach of Daegu FC and Seongnam FC. 스포츠토토맨

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