http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/sports/200508/kt2005082119315411620.htmJo Bonfrere¡¯s Destiny on the Line
Demands for a Korean Coach Gain Momentum
Speculations are becoming reality for the South Korean national team as the Korea Football Association (KFA) is expected to fire head coach Jo Bonfrere as early as Monday.
The KFA¡¯s technical committee will convene a meeting at its headquarters and decide whether to replace Bonfrere. The coach, who was selected by the same committee 14 months ago, has been hit hard by the majority of fans and media since Wednesday¡¯s 1-0 loss to Saudi Arabia in the national team¡¯s final match of the 2006 World Cup qualifier.
Bonfrere attended the K-League All-Star match on Sunday, and told reporters there that he can¡¯t answer their questions because he hasn¡¯t heard anything from the KFA.
Before Wednesday, Lee Hoi-taek, the KFA¡¯s vice president and chairman of the technical committee, said that they were giving the Dutchman their full commitment. But feeling the heat from the public, Lee seemed to have altered his stance over the matter.
``We have 10 months left until the World Cup final round, and that is enough time for a new coach to settle in and to change the team in his own way,¡¯¡¯ Lee was quoted as saying by an Internet news service, Pressian.com, on Saturday. ``Leagues in Europe have started their seasons, so we may have some troubles in finding a new foreign coach. But we don¡¯t have to worry about it too much. There always are good foreign coaches around.¡¯¡¯
``We needed more time to review, and that¡¯s why we are holding the meeting a little late. We will make a final decision on Tuesday. There will be no more talking after that.¡¯¡¯
As the atmosphere in the KFA has become unfavorable to Bonfrere, newspapers in South Korea started to name possible replacements for him, including Mick McCarthy of Sunderland and Ian Poterfield of Busan I¡¯Park. But meanwhile, some the K-League managers suggested that the KFA should hire a Korean coach who can better understand the Korean players.
``If Bonfrere is to be fired, a Korean coach can be a good alternative,¡¯¡¯ Daejon Citizen¡¯s manager Choi Yoon-kyum told Yonhap News Agency during the K-League All-Star game¡¯s dinner party. ``Korean coaches now have more experience in international football. And they know the Korean players better, so it will be easier for them to coach the national team with only 10 months left.¡¯¡¯
FC Seoul¡¯s Lee Jang-soo agreed on the idea. ``There are good things in having a foreign coach, but the level of local coaches has been much improved. So in a situation like this, it will be alright to hire a Korean coach.¡¯¡¯
Many fans also want to see a Korean coach in Germany next year. More than 50,000 have participated in an Internet poll by http://www.yahoo.co.kr, and 35 percent of them voted for Suwon Bluewings coach Cha Bum-keun to be Bonfrere¡¯s replacement. Pim Verbeek, who was an assistant coach for Guus Hiddink in 2002, received the second most votes with 26 percent. South Korea¡¯s U-20 team coach Park Sung-wha followed with 10 percent.
There are also negative voices on the idea of having a Korean coach. Because of the complicated politics within the KFA, Kim Ho, who led the national team in the 1994 World Cup, said he would refuse to take over the team if the KFA offers him the position.
``There are places where I don¡¯t want to go even if the fans want me to,¡¯¡¯ Kim said during an interview with CBS radio on Saturday. ``The national team coaching position is a job in which I could only work with people that I can work with.¡¯¡¯
If those quotes from Lee Hoi-taek are accurate, then it looks as if Bonfrere's definitely getting his jotters.
Not a hope of getting Mick McCarthy away from Sunderland I wouldn't have thought... and I wonder if those 35% who voted for Cha were disgruntled Suwon fans who want him away from the Bluewings