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The Champion Head Coach in Atlanta Olympics Soccer is Coming

The Champion Head Coach in Atlanta Olympics Soccer is Coming

Posted June. 18, 2004 22:18,   


The ex-head coach of the Nigeria national soccer team, Jo Bonfrere (age 58) from Holland, was assigned to take the new head coach job for the Korea national soccer team.

On June 18, the Korea Football Association (KFA) announced, “The director of the International Department, Ga Sam-hyun, made a provisional contract with Bonfrere in Europe on June 17,” adding, “We will enter into an official contract with him right after his arrival to Korea on June 23.”

His term will be about 25 months until July 20, 2006, when the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany will be finished. His annual salary will be as much as what the KFA paid to Guus Hiddink in the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea-Japan season, at the level of $1 million (about 1.2 billion won).

This will help settle down the Korea national soccer team, in which a head coach has been absent since Humberto Coelho was released on April 19. Bonfrere will direct and supervise the team from June 27 when the team will start to live together in a training camp to prepare for the Asian Cup, July 17 – August 7, in China.

The KFA explained, “Technical Committee Chairman Lee Hoi-taik and Vice-Chairman Huh Jeong-moo first examined the three (Luiz Felipe Scholari, head coach of the Portugal national soccer team, Michael McCarthy, ex-head coach of the Ireland national soccer team, and Senol Gunes, ex-head coach of the Turkey national soccer team) out of the four original candidates (excluding Bruno Metsu, ex-head coach of the Senegal national soccer team), and other European head coaches who showed interest for the head coach position of the Korea national soccer team. They made their final decision on Bonfrere because he can start his new position before the Asian Cup.”

The KFA explained the reasons why Bonfrere was selected to take the job: to be able to obtain satisfactory results in the Asian Cup and preliminary matches of the World Cup which are just around the corner, to have good knowledge on the Middle Eastern teams, and to be multilingual and free from misunderstandings in communication (Bonfrere speaks English, German, and French).

Chairman Lee solidified the backings for this selection by saying, “Bonfrere has a strong wish to take the head coach position for the Korea national soccer team. With our team not having enough time to prepare for the Asian Cup, his profound knowledge on Middle Eastern teams and readiness for the immediate engagement helped him to be chosen.”

The KFA announced 10 foreign candidates for the head coach position, which became available after Coelho’s release on April 19. KFA revealed that Metsu was listed for final negotiations after the pool of candidates was narrowed down to four (Metsu, Scolari, McCarthy and Gunes).

However, the KFA had to start all over after the negotiations were broken down over differences in salary. Bonfrere then emerged immediately because he was one of the three candidates for the Korea national soccer team head coach before World Cup 2002. When the KFA tried to appoint the head coach in December 2000, Bonfrere ranked in third place with ex-France national team head coach Aime Jacquet in first and Guus Hiddink in second.

Bonfrere will be the fourth foreign head coach in Korea national soccer team history; Anatoli Bichovets (Ukraina) the first, Guus Hiddink (Holland) the second, and Humberto Coelho (Portugal) the third.

Sang-Ho Kim hyangsan@donga.com