“I told the coaches, ‘I’m a manager for 11 years, and my heart is racing.’ I’m very excited ahead of the season.” A smile spread across the face of Jeju United coach Nam Ki-il (49). The charisma on the ground, which was called ‘tank’ during his active career, was nowhere to be found. Director Nam laughed, saying, “I’m already 50 in Korean age. Maybe it’s because I’m older.”
Director Nam, born in 1974, took the helm of Gwangju FC in 2013 and rose to the command tower. His extraordinary charisma and outstanding tactics created a sensation. He tasted K-League 1 promotions in succession as Gwangju in 2014, Seongnam FC in 2018, and Jeju Command Tower in 2020. Coach Nam, who holds the record for the most promotions (three times), even won the manager award at the 2020 K-League Awards Ceremony. This is the reason why other clubs went out to ‘accompany a male manager’ before the announcement of a two-year contract renewal ahead of the new season.
In a recent interview with Sports Chosun in Chiang Mai, Thailand, coach Nam said, “Jeju gave good evaluations of me. Of course, I came to the K League 1 stage from K League 2. I was in the top ranks, but I couldn’t go to the most important Asian Champions League (ACL). It’s too early to say that I succeeded. I have to go up to the ACL team on my own. I thought I had something to do,” he said. Coach Nam finished 4th in 2021 and 5th in 2022 on the K-League 1 stage. Unfortunately, I missed the ACL ticket.
Director Nam, who is already in his 11th season, has embarked on a major change ahead of 2023. Director Nam is strengthening skinship with ‘communication through footsteps’.
Coach Nam said, “I became head coach at a young age. I heard a lot of people ignoring me. Being a citizen’s club, there were other difficulties. So I deliberately created a strong image. I went strong because I didn’t want to be shaken. But last season I think there was a communication problem between the players. I couldn’t get close to the players, and the players couldn’t get close. In order not to repeat it, I plan to lead the team with various changes this season. There may be communication, but I think communication is about walking with your feet. I’m currently working hard to communicate in a bright atmosphere.”
Director Nam, who added strength and softness, set clear goals for the new season. He said, “Of course, I think we have to break the ‘Yanggang Gudo’ between Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonbuk Hyundai. Moving forward, it is my team’s goal to make ‘Absolute Top 2’ into ‘Absolute Top 3’. Nothing can happen all at once. “We can’t do it alone. It’s something we have to build together with the club. We’ll keep knocking on the door. Our goal this season is to break the two-way league. From the first match to the end, if we do our best with what we have, I think it’s enough for this season,” he said, giving strength to his voice.
Coach Nam made changes both on and off the field to move towards the goal. He recruited Hayes and Yuri Joe Nathan for the offense. Joo Min-gyu and Jeruso have to fill the void. He said, “Fans who love and know Jeju will remember some of the players who did well last season. Those players came to Jeju and did well. I’m very looking forward to it. I’m in good condition so that fans can expect it,” he praised.
There are also changes to the coaching staff. Offensive coach Jeong Jo-guk was promoted to head coach. Yangpyeong FC manager Yun Dae-seong was recruited as tactical coach. In addition, many young coaches such as Choi Hyo-jin (40) and Ha Dae-seong (38) joined the team. Director Nam will show off a breath of fantasy to find the optimal problem-solving method for each part. 스포츠토토
He said, “The role of coaches will be very large. Various coaches for each position have come. Each player has been given a role individually and partly (position). I’m talking. I’m a coach, but I’m learning with you. I’m already in my 11th year as a coach. But I wonder if I’ve ever been this excited before the season, “he laughed.
The club also promised ‘strong support’. Director Nam and CEO Chang-yong Koo, who are ‘perfectly compatible’, have newly joined. Director Nam said, “CEO Koo is the biggest reason why I came to Jeju. He is the one who suggested me to be a director. When the new CEO came, I thought, ‘Jeju can be better in the future.’ He told me to talk. It’s not ‘Aladdin’s lamp’, but he said he would tell me three things, but I haven’t said it yet. I think I’m privileged as the Jeju command tower. So I have to do better.”
He said, “I’ve already spent 10 years as a coach. Some people acknowledge me and some don’t. I think I need to grow more. I hope this season will be a happy time for me and the players. To the fans I want to create a time that can bring happiness. We are going through a difficult and difficult time, but if we overcome this difficulty, wouldn’t it be possible to go to the ACL we want?”