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Angry Bonfrere quits South Korea

Posted by The Vanguard on 2005/08/24 | Views: 496 |

Angry Bonfrere quits South Korea


South Korea coach Jo Bonfrere has resigned and the search for his successor will begin immediately with the World Cup finals less than a year away, the Korea Football Association (KFA) said on Tuesday.

South Korea coach Jo Bonfrere has resigned and the search for his successor will begin immediately with the World Cup finals less than a year away, the Korea Football Association (KFA) said on Tuesday.

Dutchman Bonfrere steered South Korea to their sixth consecutive finals in June, but a string of poor performances since had prompted widespread calls for him to step down before next year’s tournament in Germany.

"Bonfrere informed the KFA of his decision on Monday and the members of the technical committee have agreed to accept his resignation," said Kang Shin-woo, vice chairman of the KFA’s technical committee.

"The KFA did not ask Bonfrere to step down," he added in a televised news conference.

Bonfrere said there was never enough time to build a solid team because key players active in Europe would be brought back just days before a match.

"No coach in the world can bring a team together in two days," he told reporters after the announcement.

Criticism of Bonfrere’s leadership increased after South Korea finished last behind China, North Korea and Japan in the East Asian championship earlier this month.

A 1-0 home defeat by Saudi Arabia in their final World Cup qualifier last week had fans and media clamouring for his resignation, prompting the KFA to convene a meeting of its technical committee.

"Bonfrere has decided that it would be difficult for him to continue in the job of coach under the current circumstances," said You Young-cheul, KFA media director.

Asked about a successor, You said the committee was meeting on the issue. It was expected to reach a decision within a month, committee chairman Lee Hoi-taek was quoted as saying by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

Bonfrere was himself a surprise replacement for Humberto Coelho, who stepped down in April last year after a humiliating 0-0 draw with the Maldives in a World Cup qualifier. Coelho had also cited a lack of time to work with players as one of the reasons for his side’s disjointed displays.

South Korean media have already been speculating about possible replacements, among them Mick McCarthy, manager of English Premier league side Sunderland, and former Senegal coach Bruno Metsu.

With time short, former South Korean coach Kim Ho said the search might have to be narrowed to Koreans.

"It would take a little time to bring in a foreign leader at this point. I think it would be good to pick a person here," Kim was quoted as saying by YTN television.

The urgency was also reflected in an online poll conducted by the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, where 57 percent of the respondents said they preferred a Korean coach. The job appears to have become something of a poisoned chalice since Guus Hiddink took South Korea to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup on home soil. "You in the media brought it to the people that this team wasn’t as good as it was in the 2002 World Cup -- and that’s not fair," said Bonfrere.

"The media and fans had too much expectation."



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