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The KFA are approaching the self-imposed deadline for hiring the national team manager

KFA National Team Committee chief Chung Hae-sung speaks during a briefing at the KFA House in central Seoul on April 2.  (Yonhap)

KFA National Team Committee chief Chung Hae-sung speaks during a briefing at the KFA House in central Seoul on April 2. (Yonhap)

The Korea Football Association (KFA) had yet to appoint a permanent senior national team manager on Wednesday, although it said last month it would do so by early to mid-May.

The head of the KFA National Team Committee, Chung Hae-sung, said last month that they would start interviewing managers on the shortlist, which is believed to have included former Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch.

Marsch, however, was announced Tuesday as Canada’s new coach. His call to reject the Korea job came after KFA rejected the American manager’s salary request, which was $2 million after taxes, according to JoongAng Ilbo, an affiliate of Korea JoongAng Daily.

Yonhap news agency reported on Tuesday that over the weekend, KFA denied that talks with Marsch had broken down over salary.

Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch looks forward to the Premier League match against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground Stadium in Nottingham, England on February 5, 2023.  (AP/Yonhap)

Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch looks forward to the Premier League match against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground Stadium in Nottingham, England on February 5, 2023. (AP/Yonhap)

If Marsch were to take charge of the Korean national team, he could be reunited with regular midfielder Hwang Hee-chan, whom he coached in the 2019-20 season at Austrian side Salzburg.

The KFA also have other foreign manager options, with former Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Bruno Lage and Mallorca coach Javier Aguirre also on the shortlist.

Botafogo's then coach Bruno Lage looks on before the Copa Sudamericana quarter-final first leg match against Argentina's Defensa y Justicia at Nilton Santos Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 23, 2023. (AP/YONHAP)

Botafogo’s then coach Bruno Lage looks on before the Copa Sudamericana quarter-final first leg match against Argentina’s Defensa y Justicia at Nilton Santos Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 23, 2023. (AP/YONHAP)

Lage coached Hwang at Wolves in the 2021–22 Premier League season and Aguirre coached regular national team midfielder Lee Kang-in at Mallorca during the 2022–23 La Liga campaign.

Both managers have approximately 20 years of coaching experience.

Lage was an assistant coach and manager for several Portuguese teams, including his one-season spell with Benfica. He has not taken a new coaching job since being sacked by Brazilian club Botafogo last October.

Aguirre has coached several La Liga teams such as Atletico Madrid and Espanyol. He also coached the Japanese national team from 2014 to 2015 and the Egyptian national team from 2018 to 2019.

Mallorca manager Javier Aguirre gestures during a La Liga match against Osasunaa in Pamplona, ​​Spain on Tuesday.  (EPA/Yonhap)

Mallorca manager Javier Aguirre gestures during a La Liga match against Osasunaa in Pamplona, ​​Spain on Tuesday. (EPA/Yonhap)

The job of manager of the Korean national team has been vacant since the KFA sacked Jurgen Klinsmann in February, following his turbulent year-long tenure in which he was criticized for a perceived lack of tactical awareness and a failure to win the AFC Asian Cup. where Korea went out with a loss in the semi-final.

The KFA did not immediately hire a new permanent manager, instead appointing U-23 team manager Hwang Sun-hong as interim manager on February 27 to take over two 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Thailand in March.

Once a new Korean team manager takes over, they will immediately have to prepare for two upcoming 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Singapore and China in June.

Korea will play an away match against Singapore on June 6 and face China at home on June 11.

BY PAIK JI-HWAN ([email protected])