Portuguese Coach to Take Helm of Korean National Football Team

  • By Chang Min-seok

    August 17, 2018 11:29

    Paulo Bento

    Former Portuguese footballer Paulo Bento is set to lead the Korean national football team.

    Kim Pan-gon at the Korea Football Association, who returned home on Thursday after ending his agonizingly long search in Europe to find a new manager for the Korean national team, made the announcement at a press conference in Seoul on Friday.

    Bento's contract will be effective until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. He will make his coaching debut for the Korean team next month in friendly matches against Costa Rica on Sept. 7 in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, and Chile on Sept. 11 in Busan.

    Kim spent more than a month before finally settling on Bento, meeting several potential coaches in Europe. After being unable to hire first-choice candidates such as Carlos Queiroz of Portugal, Juan Carlos Osorio of Colombia and Hervé Renard of Morocco, he widened his options, contacting more candidates like Bento, Quique Sáncez Flores of Spain and Slaven Bilić of Croatia.

    Flores, who was considered the most suitable candidate, apparently balked at such a long-term contract and a full-time stay in Korea. He has been a coach for barely two seasons.

    Kim Pan-gon of the Korean Football Association talks to reporters at a press conference in Seoul on Friday.

    By contrast, Bento was apparently enthusiastic for the post and salary negotiations went smoothly. Also his experience guiding Portugal to the Euro 2012 semifinals met the KFA's selection criteria which preferred a seasoned coach with winning records in major international competitions such as the World Cup.

    Until recently Bento managed Chinese outfit Chongqing Lifan but had to quit after a short stay of about seven months in July 2018 due to the poor performance of the team.

    Bento, who used to be a defensive midfielder, is said to have good team-building skills.

    Some football fans may recall that he played against Korea's football star Park Ji-sung during the 2002 World Cup.

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