South Korea has a new man in charge and it is 49-year-old former Portugal boss Paulo Bento. It would be fair to say this is not the most inspiring of appointments. Fans of the game in East Asia will also note this is a man who only recently failed as coach of Chongqing Lifan in the CSL.
How the appointment went down in Korea
While the Korean public is not overwhelmed by their new head coach the message seems to be that it's time to get behind the new man. As Korea Football Association (KFA) announced at an official press conference held at the Football Hall in Seoul on the 17th August. Bento was due to be appointed as the new head coach of the Korean national side.
The KFA said yesterday "We interviewed a total of four managers in Europe. Among the four of them, we felt Bento was the best choice. All of the managers interviewed were professional and had a high level of knowledge on the game." From this statement, at least the KFA seem to take a long time to get their man to make sure it was the right coach for the job.
It is understood that the list was originally ten candidates one of which being Bento predecessor Shin Tae-Yong. Although the country did beat Germany, the KFA felt the standard under Shin was not good enough.
The main issue with Korea during the World Cup was their lack of tactical awareness. A lot of this blame especially in Korea was aimed at the head coach which would not have helped his cause when applying for the role.
Who else was in line for the role
After it was decided that Shin Tae-Yong would not be getting the job permanently the KFA looked to Europe. It is understood managers such as Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlos Queiroz, Vahid Halilhodzic, Jurgen Klinsmann and Carlos Osorio where looked at but how close any of these coaches came to be in charge of Korea is not known.
Although how these negotiations went to Europe is unclear as most think Bento was not South Korea's first choice as South Korean football fans expressed where excited for a big name. If you are to believe the KFA though they chose Bento for his passion and style of football.
More about Bento
Paulo Jorge Gomes Bento to give him his full name is a Portuguese manager that started his management career with Sporting Lisbon in 2005. Since then he's gone to manage four other sides with South Korea being his sixth job in management and his second international role.
Bento started his management career when his career ended with Sporting Lisbon. At the club, he became their second-most successful coach in the history. Although towards the end of 2008 and into 2009 things turned sour.
The fans became upset at the lack of success on the park with the club at this point firmly second place to rivals FC Porto. They then suffered some poor performances in Europe. Worrying also the fans felt his tactics where wrong and the football was dull. This then led in the end to the coach resigning at the end of 2009.
His next role was to be with his country where he led them to the 2012 European Cup Semi-Final only for them to lose to the winners Spain on penalties.
Then however in the 2014 World Cup, he failed to get his country out of their group missing out to the USA on goal difference. He then left after an embarrassing 1-0 loss to Albania.
Since his mixed time in his home country since 2014 he has managed Cruzeiro in Brazil, Olympiacos in Greece and most recently Chongqing Dangdai Lifan in China.
He left his previous role with the CSL side after a poor run of results, which included six defeats in a row.
The KFA is positive
Despite his mix background as a manager, the KFA seem confident with them saying "Even there (in China), he improved and developed the team's training. I have no worries at all about his ability."
"Bento likes a high-pressing game that doesn't allow the opponents to build any attacking momentum and tries to prevent their counter-attacks. He also has a good record in knockout stage competitions. He is professional, charismatic and has passion and confidence."
The controversy over the appointment of Bento may continue for a while but he has his first game next month against Costa Rica. This will then be a great chance early on to prove the doubters wrong.