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“Coach Bonfrere is Frustrating Me”

Posted August. 20, 2005 03:04,   


“Former head coach Guus Hiddink insisted on a four-back system, but switched to a three-back system according to public opinion, with good results. Bonfrere, however, seems to have closed his ears to advice coming from Korean soccer experts. He still does not seem to have a full grasp of each player’s characteristics…Lee Chun-soo and Park Joo-young give a much better performance from the middle. I am doubtful on whether the right field suits Lee Young-pyo. His tactics are too monotonous. It is so frustrating.”

Cho Gwang-rae, who started to play soccer in his second year at Jinju High School, was the Korean national team’s star midfielder for 12 years (1975 to 1986). In the 1986 Asian Games final against Saudi Arabia, he made the final goal to lead his team to the gold. He was popular for his sharp mid-distance shooting skills and tough performances that he exhibited in spite of his small figure (171cm, 65kg). He had nicknames such as “computer linker,” “German soldier” and “Cho the Dark.” Cho believes that “the training should be like that in South America, and the play should be like that in Europe.”

“Tactical players such as Kim Doo-hyun (Seongnam) and Baek Ji-hoon (FC Seoul) should get more experience in international games. In this sense, I feel sorry for Goh Jong-soo. He, in my opinion, has the best soccer sense among all the players that I know…”

Cho keeps silent about the future of Bonfrere as head coach. He says the matter is up to the Technical Committee.

“Korean players are nimble and have high combative spirits. If there were a head coach as brilliant as Hiddink to foster the players’ game operation skills, we may expect good results in the next World Cup.”

Cho’s motto is: “The most challenging moment is the most critical moment.” His hobby is golf. He often meets Shin Moon-sun, who was his Yonsei University teammate, three years his junior, and currently the SBS soccer commentator. He finishes up to two bottles of soju. He does not smoke. His favorite songs are Na Hoon-ah’s “Love” and “Forever.”

Cho plans to leave for Argentina to study soccer.

Hwa-Sung Kim mars@donga.com