Football: More than 70pc of South Koreans want Guus Hiddink to return
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Football: More than 70pc of South Koreans want Guus Hiddink to return

GUUS Hiddink – who has a stadium in South Korea named after him – is in demand to return to the national team set-up before next year’s World Cup.

The Dutchman, who turns 71 in November and has been out of football since leaving Chelsea in 2016, is revered in South Korea after guiding the team to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup.

And a survey, published on Monday, revealed that more than 70 percent of South Koreans believe their national team would benefit from hiring Hiddink for next year’s World Cup in Russia.

According to The Korean Herald, of 505 adults asked by Realmeter last Friday, 70.2 percent said Hiddink should return – either as a coach or technical advisor – to the national team set-up.

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The survey was conducted the day after Hiddink told reporters in Amsterdam he is willing to help South Korea – although he put more emphasis on advising than coaching.

Hiddink wrote his name into South Korean folklore when guiding the team to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup.

The run, which shocked the football world, saw the Dutchman given honorary citizenship of the country, while the World Cup stadium in Gwangju was renamed Guus Hiddink Stadium.

South Korea recently secured their place at a ninth successive World Cup finals and are led by Shin Tae-yong, who took over in July following the sacking of Uli Stielike.

The survey showed that South Koreans are split on whether they prefer Shin or Hiddink for the head coach role – with both men earning 43.6 percent of the vote.

When asked about their preferred management set-up for the national team, 26.6 percent said they wanted Shin as head coach with Hiddink supporting him as technical advisor.

Another 22 percent would prefer Hiddink as sole head coach, while 21.6 percent would like to see Hiddink as head coach with Shin as his No 2.

Only 17 percent said they wanted to see Shin at the helm without any input from Hiddink.