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S. Korea name former skipper national coach

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Hong Myung Bo pictured before the Olympic Games men's quarter-final against Great Britain on August 4, 2012. South Korea named Hong, who led the under-23 team to a bronze medal at the Olympics, as the new coach of the national side.AFP/File

South Korea named former skipper Hong Myung-Bo as the new coach of the national side, tasked with preparing the out-of-form team for next year's World Cup in Brazil.

The Korea Football Association said Hong, 44, had been given a two-year contract to replace Choi Kang-Hee, who quit as manager last week after South Korea scraped through to qualify for an eighth straight World Cup.

As a player, Hong represented the national team at four consecutive World Cup finals from 1990 and became a national hero as captain of the side that reached the semi-finals of the 2002 competition in South Korea.

He faces a tough challenge in injecting fresh confidence and motivation into the current national team that only managed to qualify for Brazil on goal difference.

In their last four qualifying games, they were beaten twice by Iran, drew with Lebanon and were lucky to scrape through with wins over Qatar and Uzbekistan.

Hong began his coaching career as an assistant on the senior national team from 2005 to 2007.

He coached South Korea to bronze at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games and led an under-23 team to a bronze medal at the London Olympics last year. It was the country's first Olympic football medal.