Wednesday 13 November 2019

Colin Bell returns to women's football as boss of South Korea

Colin Bell. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Colin Bell. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Former Ireland manager Colin Bell has returned to the women’s game as boss of South Korea.

Bell quit his role with the FAI in June just 10 weeks ahead of the European qualifiers starting to join Jan Siewert at Huddersfield Town.

The pair had known each other from working in Germany but their partnership at the Terriers only lasted a matter of weeks as Siewert paid for slow start to life back in the Championship with the sack.

Bell’s status since August had been unknown but the South Koreans have recruited the Englishman on a three-year contract.

They are placed 12 places above Ireland in the FIFA rankings at 20 and have qualified for the last two World Cups.

Three of their players, Ji So-yun (Chelsea), Lee Gium-min (Manchester City) and Cho So-hyun (West Ham United) operate in the English Women’s Super League.

Speaking about the appointment, Korean FA chairman Kim Pan-gon cited Bell’s feat of leading Frankfurt to the Women’s Champions League triumph in 2015 and the strides made by Ireland during his reign as the enticing factors.

Bell spent one full campaign at the helm for Ireland, finishing third in the World Cup qualifying group behind twos powerhouse in Norway and Holland.

The build-up to the start of the qualifiers in 2017 was overshadowed by the strike undertaken by his players to secure basic conditions.

His tenure also ended under a cloud. While he insisted the FAI couldn’t match his ambition, the association said they were unable to meet his demands in their current difficult financial state.

Last month, veteran coach Vera Pauw was appointed as his permanent successor, with the side winning both of their opening Euro qualifiers against Montenegro and Ukraine.

Dutchwoman Pauw recently said that a meeting with Bell had proven useful in learning about individual players and the dynamics within the group she inherited.

Bell’s first game in charge will be against China on December 10.

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