BREAKING: New KNT Manager is Uli Stielike

The KFA has just announced our new manager. Ten points to the person who knows who this dude is: Uli Stielike. All I know about this guy is his Wikipedia page and a Yonhap article. So here goes nothing.

First off, Stielike is German, 59 years old and he is affectionately known as “The Stopper” in Germany.
In his 16 year long playing career, Stielike played for Borussia Monchengladbach, Real Madrid, and some random Swiss team, Neuchatel Xamax. He played as Central Midfielder or as a Sweeper. In his tenure in Spain, he was “named best foreign player 4 times” (Yonhap News). He earned 42 caps with West Germany, winning two Euros and finishing 2nd in the 1982 FIFA World Cup.

Stielike began managing in Switzerland, taking charge of their national team for 2 years, before being replaced by current England manager Roy Hodgson. The year after, 1992, he managed his former Swiss team, Neuchatel Xamax, then from 1994-95 managed Mannheim, off to Almeria in 1996 and from 1998-2006 he managed in Germany, from being an assistant to a youth team manager. He took charge of the Ivory Coast in 2006, after their World Cup exit, but had to quit in 2008 due to personal reasons in his family. He returned to Switzerland in 2008 to manage FC Sion, but was fired after just 2 months. Off to the Middle East, two stints with Al-Arabi and one with Al-Salliya. He managed Kim Ki-Hee at Al-Salliya, as Kim was sent on loan there.

And now he’s found himself with South Korea. He’s the first foreign manager we’ve had since Pim Verbeek in 2007.

Honestly, this feels like a step down. I mean we were talking about Bert Van Marwijk and Neil Lennon and Radomir Antic and Prosinecki just a few days ago, but then Ciro Ferrera’s name popped up. I was worried we were shooting low. At one point we had contacted Martin Jol. Martin Jol! He turned the KNT down though.

I don’t know anything about Stielike other than what I’ve just written, and he’s yet to really prove himself, or so it seems, in a managerial job other than doing youth duty in Germany. I’m not convinced by his résumé and what he offers to the KNT. He is going to have to do an awful lot of convincing to get me to believe in him.

But Lee Yong-Soo hired Hiddink, so I’ll refrain from declaring this a “terrible choice” for now. Emphasis on “for now”…

Stielike’s first chance to prove himself and take the reins of the KNT in a match will be the October friendlies, which I believe are against Paraguay and Costa Rica. But the German international will be in attendance for tomorrow’s friendly against Venezuela – remember, it’s on the 5th of September, tomorrow if you’re reading this today (three cheers for my logic), 8pm KST, 7am Eastern time. There will be links up on the Tavern twitter and my twitter @korfan12 (if I wake up, yikes) for links to watch the game. It’s broadcast on SBS in Korea, (or SBS2? Korea-based people? Help?), which means their streaming requires you to prove you live in the motherland. Which I, and many of you, are not. Hence the links on twitter.

Anyhow, what do you think of our managerial selection? Will he last 4 years? His contract does last through the World Cup. Let us know in the comments section below. Jalgayo.

잠깐만요! Jae jumping in here. I think like most, I was a bit surprised at A) the fact that there was an announcement today, and B) who was announced. Like Tim, I hadn’t really heard of Uli Stielike before today. His management record isn’t one that I really had tracked, and his playing days pre-date me a bit. I can’t say that it’s an impressive hiring, and it’s one that seems unlikely to placate the demanding Korean public.

Hopefully he’ll be given time (and money) to make improvements in Korea’s footballing infrastructure. I’m assuming, given his history with Germany’s youth system, that’s the main reason why he’s been hired. His senior management history is nothing much (African Cup of Nations qualifying with Ivory Coast and Switzerland boss from over 20 years ago) and I don’t put much stock in his management in the Mid East.

Stielike is supposed to be at the Uruguay game on Monday (maybe I can meet him). At the very least though, at least these friendlies will mean a little something. Players will need to convince him of their worth and perform against decent opposition.

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The maple syrup guzzling kimchijjigae craving Korean-Canadian, eh?

13 Comments

  1. We have to look at his record… From what I’ve seen from Wikipedia he relegated his club in 2010 but promoted it again and the following year at al sailiya, and at al grabi he took the club position from 11 to 5… But I am skeptical and I wish we got someone better. This guy seems to bounce from club to club

  2. Hiddink already had a great record before becoming the KNT coach. This guy, not so much. It looks to me that the KFA wanted to play it safe. They will have to do much better than that if they want to advance the state of Korean football.

    He was a popular player though.

    • If Kia wanted to play it safe they would have got someone with experience, I guess the korea job is just very unattractive for experienced managers

      • I agree with your first point. However, I have my skepticism regarding their hiring process. There were experienced managers interested in coaching the KNT, however they’ve either backed out due to disagreement or weren’t on the KFA’s short list.

        • You don’t end up with unknown factors like this unless the job is unattractive. Lets not kid ourselves here.

        • The job is unattractive for top managers. There’s no reason for a big-name to come out to Korea, none. The only way to get one is money and the KFA doesn’t have enough.

    • I wouldn’t say they played it safe, but it looks like they decided to grab the first guy who would accept their conditions (and pay). Stielike could end up being a good manager, but we just can’t know until it happens (or doesn’t) since he has nothing in his track record.

  3. Maybe you guys can do a silver lining piece next? Because Im having a tough time seeing one at this point.

    Shoe-gazing bigtime

    • Silver lining? As in there’s hope or something?

      I tried to write that in a Venezuela preview, but I got discouraged and Jinseok posted a preview that was way better anyhow.

      Hey but we’ve got a new manager, and maybe he can grow our system. We’re not in panic mode quite yet. I’ll judge him after the Asian Cup.

      • Sorry guys. I hate to be the D-downer cynic here all the time but like a lot of you Ive been following NT for a long ass time. To my negative ass the writing was on the wall this summer. Korean football dead? I wouldn’t go that far as some have but this is all such a step backward.

        I know we’ll be ok in the end but just getting a little tired is all. I guess us guys need to puke along the side of the road and catch up with some of you. Who knows, Uli might become the savior and Ill be eating crow for the next year but September 15 seemed like the deadline and with no one in the bank until a week ago, this all just seemed so forced.

        I almost feel like we should’ve gone domestic if this was what it was going to come down to.

        I guess the toffee throwing incident had more of an impact that Id imagined.

  4. You guys are too harsh, big names don’t mean anything till they start showing results. This guy hasn’t even had any time with the KNT yet, and everyone is already saying he’s a downgrade or whatever. Give him some time, let’s see how well he is before we start to judge the man. He’s joining to improve the team, give him some time.

    • I don’t think anyone is saying he’s a downgrade on what we had (Cho, Choi, Hong), but he’s a downgrade on what they KFA had initially talked about getting. Someone with a track record of success, World Cup experience, etc. Stielike has a small amount of experience at international level and modest club exposure with smaller teams. He may turn out to be good, but an initial look at his resume doesn’t get one excited.

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