Hong Kong men’s football team coach Kim Pan-gon has quit as he returns to South Korea for a new appointment, RTHK reports.
The Korean Football Association (KFA) announced Tuesday that it has appointed the 48-year-old to lead the newly created national football team coach appointment committee, responsible for hiring coaches for the South Korean senior national team and the U-23 side, according to Yonhap news agency.
His departure shocks the city’s sports fans as the team is preparing for the AFC Asian Cup qualifier against North Korea in three months.
Hong Kong Football Association chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak confirmed his departure, Apple Daily reported.
After playing for South Korean clubs like Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the 1990s, Kim started his coaching career as a player-manager for Hong Kong team Buler Rangers in 2003.
Joining the city’s heavyweights South China in 2008, Kim led the team to the First Division Championship for two consecutive seasons and reaching the 2009 AFC Cup semi-final.
Renowned for his passion, Kim once said to the press: “When I coach Hong Kong, I really want to die for Hong Kong.”
“Although Kim didn’t have an outstanding career as a player, he has proven his ability as a coach and administrator,” KFA said, according to Yonhap news. “His appointment is meaningful because it shows those who didn’t play for the national team can also take important roles if they are talented.”
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