Scottish paper says ex-Celtic coach 'strong candidate' for vacant S. Korean nat'l team job

2014/07/22 17:59

SEOUL, July 22 (Yonhap) -- A Scottish newspaper reported on Tuesday that a former head coach of a pro football club there has emerged as a "strong candidate" to take over the South Korean men's national team.

The Scotsman said Neil Lennon, former head coach of Celtic FC in the Scottish Premier League, is "on a short list" to become the new bench boss for South Korea, which has been seeking a replacement for Hong Myung-bo, who resigned earlier this month following the country's early exit from the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

According to the Scotsman, Lennon had been linked to jobs in the United Arab Emirates, in particular with Al Shabab, but is now among a few other European names in line to take charge of South Korea.

Lennon, 43, left Celtic at the end of last season after enjoying a successful five-season run, during which the club won two Scottish Premier League titles and two Scottish Cups. He coached two South Korean players, midfielder Ki Sung-yueng and defensive back Cha Du-ri, during his tenure.

The paper said ex-Galatasaray head coach Frank Rijkaard, former Zenit St Petersburg boss Luciano Spalletti, and one-time Tottenham and Fulham head coach Martin Jol are the other European candidates. The Scotsman added that Jorge Luis Pinto, who guided the upstart Costa Rica to the quarterfinals at this year's World Cup, is also on the list.

Last week, a Danish newspaper reported that Michael Schjonberg, a 47-year-old assistant coach of the Norwegian club Valerenga, was a candidate to take the South Korean job.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) plans to name a new head of its technical committee this week. The technical chief's primary responsibility is to name the national team head coach.

An official at the KFA said the national governing body has a pool of about 10 South Koreans and 10 international candidates from which to choose, and there are a few others who have shown interest in the vacancy.

South Korea will play two friendly matches in September but officials at the KFA have said they will not rush to name the new head coach, even if it means having to name an interim coach for the two September games.