South Korea coach Cho Kwang-Rae has been sacked after a shock defeat to Lebanon left the 2002 semi-finalists at risk of crashing out of World Cup qualifying, a top official said Thursday.
Cho said he was "flabbergasted" at the move, which comes with his team still top of Group B on goal difference and needing only to avoid defeat in their last game to be sure of reaching the final round.
But Korean Football Association (KFA) chief Cho Chung-Yun said Cho, who has faced widespread calls for his resignation, was not the man to steer South Korea to the 2104 tournament in Brazil.
"We've come to the conclusion that it would be difficult for South Korea to reach the World Cup finals with the current coach. We've decided to fire him," Cho told Yonhap news agency.
"As to his replacement, we'll pick up whoever is experienced enough and capable of overcoming this crisis," he added.
The angry coach raged at his "unceremonious" dumping and said it was not formally discussed by the Korean Football Association's technical committee.
He was told of the decision by the committee's chairman, Hwangbo Kwan, at a Seoul hotel on Wednesday.
"I'm not a community football team coach. I'm flabbergasted at being fired this way," Cho said.
"This incident is not only concerned with my fortune but the future of Korean football. Whoever comes to and leaves the post, legitimate procedures must be followed," Cho said.
After their defeat in Beirut, South Korea top Group B on goal difference, level on 10 points with Lebanon and ahead of third-placed Kuwait on eight, with the top two teams reaching the final qualifying round.
Asia's third-ranked team host Kuwait in their last group game on February 29.