Soccer-South Korea short-lists three foreign coaches

Reuters

By Narae Kim

SEOUL, July 31 (Reuters) - South Korea have narrowed the search for a new national team soccer coach to three foreign candidates, the head of the Korea Football Association's technical committee said on Thursday.

Lee Yong-soo told reporters at the national training centre in Paju, north of Seoul, the committee had considered 17 local and 30 foreign coaches to come up with their shortlist.

Hong Myung-bo resigned as coach after South Korea's woeful World Cup campaign in Brazil, where they earned only one point and finished bottom of their group.

"We came up with a list of candidates and selected three coaches to give priority to," said Lee, who also headed the committee in 2002 when Guus Hiddink coached the Koreans to fourth place at the World Cup on home soil.

"All three are foreign coaches. One Korean coach met the requirements but after the technical committee discussion we have decided to rule him out this time.

"The KFA will begin contacting the three foreign coaches starting next week. We won't disclose their names."

Lee said earlier this week that experience, whether at international or domestic level, would be a top priority for South Korea's new coach.

Neil Lennon, the former manager of Celtic, has been linked with the post in various media reports.

Lennon worked with South Korean players Ki Sung-yueng and Cha Du-ri at the Scottish champions.

Former Dutch international Frank Rijkaard and the former Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham coach Martin Jol have also been reported as possibilities.

South Korea have enjoyed mixed success under foreign coaches, with Hiddink and compatriot Dick Advocaat getting the best out of them while others such as Pim Verbeek, Humberto Coelho and Jo Bonfrere have failed to deliver.

Dutchman Verbeek was the last foreigner to coach Korea.

He resigned after leading them to third place at the 2007 Asian Cup. (Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)