South Korea hires former Portugal coach


Portuguese tactician Paulo Bento arrived in South Korea on Monday to lead the country’s national football team.


Image: Paulo Bento

Bento landed at Incheon International Airport with his backroom staff — chief assistant coach Sergio Costa, assistant coach Filipe Coelho, goalkeeper coach Vitor Silvestre and fitness coach Pedro Pereira — to lead the South Korean men’s national football team. The 49-year-old was unveiled as head coach of South Korea on Friday.

“It’s an honor to be in South Korea,” Bento told reporters at the airport. “I’ll try to make progress with this team with passion and will make good preparations for the Asian Cup and the World Cup.”

Bento said he’ll first target winning the Asian Cup with South Korea next year. The Taeguk Warriors haven’t won the continental title since 1960.

“I heard that South Korea ended up second or third place at the Asian Cup,” he said. “I will try to help South Korea win the Asian Cup this time.”

When asked about the style of football that he wants to play with South Korea, Bento said he will first have to get to know each player.

“Every coach has a different style,” he said. “We’ll build our own style of football to reach the target.”

The Korea Football Association (KFA) said Bento will hold a press conference on Wednesday to explain his vision and plans with the national team in detail.

Bento will make his South Korea coaching debut on Sept. 7 when the national team take on Costa Rica in Goyang, north of Seoul. South Korea will also play against Chile on Sept. 11.

Bento’s first work is to select the players who will compete in the September friendly matches. He is expected to unveil his first national team selection next Monday.

Bento took up a coaching career in 2005, managing teams like Sporting, the Portuguese national team, Cruzeiro, Olympiako and Chongqing Lifan. He led Portugal to the semifinals at Euro 2012.