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Head coach of S. Korean pro football champions to leave for China

All Headlines 15:36 October 22, 2018

SEOUL, Oct. 22 (Yonhap) -- Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors head coach Choi Kang-hee will leave for China, his South Korean club announced Monday.

Jeonbuk said Choi will sign with the Chinese Super League (CSL) side Tianjin Quanjian. The 59-year-old has been linked with various Chinese clubs after leading Jeonbuk to their sixth K League 1 title earlier this month.

"Choi accepted Tianjin's offer and decided to leave Jeonbuk after serving this club for 14 years," Jeonbuk said. "Although he still has a contract with us, we decided to respect Choi's decision for a new challenge."

Choi is considered among the most decorated football coaches in K League history. Since taking the helm at Jeonbuk in 2005, he has amassed six K League 1 titles, the most of any coach, in addition to one Korea Football Association Cup trophy and two Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League crowns. He also has the most career wins of a head coach in the South Korean league.

Choi first won the K League title in 2009 with a record of 19 wins, eight draws and seven losses. Since then, he has collected at least 20 wins every season except from 2012 to 2013, when he was in charge of the South Korean national football team.

For this season, he led Jeonbuk to defend their K League 1 title with six matches to spare.

Jeonbuk said Choi will depart for China after completing the remaining matches this season.

Tianjin earlier this month hired Park Choong-gyun, who was an assistant to Choi at Jeonbuk, as their coach. The team finished third in the CSL last season.

This file photo, taken Oct. 7, 2018, shows Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors head coach Choi Kang-hee at Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan, 310 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr
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