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Soccer coach feels heat after poor performance

Aug 08,2005
With a 0-1 loss to Japan in the East Asian Football Federation Championship, Jo Bonfrere, head coach of the South Korean men’s national soccer team, finds himself facing dwindling support from fans, while some soccer analysts are openly calling for his dismissal.
With 10 months to go before the 2006 German World Cup, soccer officials are under heavy pressure from the public. The Korea Football Association said yesterday that it would monitor the situation closely.
“Right now we don’t have any plans to change the coach. But if a certain situation occurs we will hold a technical committee meeting to discuss the matter,” said Lee Hui-taek, head of the association’s technical committee.
Two years ago the Korean national team finished first in the East Asian Football Federation Championship. This year it was last. North and South Korea, Japan and China play in the tournament.
Losing to Japan was particularly damaging for Mr. Bonfrere’s standing. Coming into this year, the national soccer team had won four matches and lost four while tying five times. Although Mr. Bonfrere is signed through the 2006 German World Cup, his predecessor Humberto Coelho, also brought in to lead the team to the World Cup, encountered heavy public criticism and had to resign.
Choi Man-hui, head coach of the Suwon Samsung minor league team, said that Mr. Bonfrere managed to pass the Asian qualifying rounds for the World Cup and needed to be trusted. “Even if the coach is changed there won’t be much difference,” said Mr. Choi.


by Sung Ho-jun


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