Jeonbuk go foreign after Choi's reign ends

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Jeonbuk go foreign after Choi's reign ends

By John Duerden

Jose Morais
Things are changing in Korean soccer. FC Seoul is struggling against relegation from the top tier and Choi Kang-hee has left Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors having been with the team since 2005.

The most successful boss in Korean history has headed to China to take over Tianjin Quanjian. After such a long time with one boss, it is perhaps not a surprise that the club has gone in a different direction, a very different direction.

Last week, the Korean champions hired Jose Morais as the new boss. Like the national team boss Paulo Bento, he is Portuguese. And he also has a wealth of experience.

Both the coaches could be considered to be number two to a certain Jose Mourinho. Morais worked with the current Manchester United boss during spells at European giants Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Chelsea.

Working with one of the most successful coaches in the history of the game must have given the 53 year-old plenty of insights on how to win. That remains to be seen, but in a league where there are not enough foreign coaches ― exposing players and fans to different ways of training and playing is important ― it is encouraging to see the league's best team look overseas.

Hiring foreign coaches is more difficult than going local. You have to deal with foreign agents, pay more and then the new coach is going to need a translator, a visa and a place to live. It is easier to go with a Korean boss who can take the hot seat with a minimum of fuss.

Jeonbuk is confident the choice is the right one. General manager, Baek Seung-kwon is looking forward to next season. "He's a capable coach who can take Jeonbuk to even greater heights. His strategic acumen and experience in winning the European championship will inspire and motivate our players. Given his wealth of experience in European football, we felt Jose Morais was the perfect coach for our club's philosophy."

There will be no coach in the K-League next season with the same amount of experience in Europe. There will be few in the whole of Asia that have a resume to match. In addition to his time as assistant to Mourinho, Morais spent time in charge of his own clubs in six different countries ― most notably with Greek giant AEK Athens. He left his job in Ukraine to head to Jeonju.

If there is a concern about the new coach ― and you never know what is going to happen ― then he does seem to change jobs on a regular basis. Choi took the Jeonbuk job in 2005, while Morais is now at club number 15. Perhaps he has just been looking for the right club.

Jeonbuk has been hugely successful in recent years but the team has to be applauded for looking to go down a different route. Fans of other clubs, tired of the domination would welcome the Motors struggling, but it may well be good for Korean football in general if Jose Morais is a roaring success.


By John Duerden

Jose Morais
Things are changing in Korean soccer. FC Seoul is struggling against relegation from the top tier and Choi Kang-hee has left Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors having been with the team since 2005.

The most successful boss in Korean history has headed to China to take over Tianjin Quanjian. After such a long time with one boss, it is perhaps not a surprise that the club has gone in a different direction, a very different direction.

Last week, the Korean champions hired Jose Morais as the new boss. Like the national team boss Paulo Bento, he is Portuguese. And he also has a wealth of experience.

Both the coaches could be considered to be number two to a certain Jose Mourinho. Morais worked with the current Manchester United boss during spells at European giants Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Chelsea.

Working with one of the most successful coaches in the history of the game must have given the 53 year-old plenty of insights on how to win. That remains to be seen, but in a league where there are not enough foreign coaches ― exposing players and fans to different ways of training and playing is important ― it is encouraging to see the league's best team look overseas.

Hiring foreign coaches is more difficult than going local. You have to deal with foreign agents, pay more and then the new coach is going to need a translator, a visa and a place to live. It is easier to go with a Korean boss who can take the hot seat with a minimum of fuss.

Jeonbuk is confident the choice is the right one. General manager, Baek Seung-kwon is looking forward to next season. "He's a capable coach who can take Jeonbuk to even greater heights. His strategic acumen and experience in winning the European championship will inspire and motivate our players. Given his wealth of experience in European football, we felt Jose Morais was the perfect coach for our club's philosophy."

There will be no coach in the K-League next season with the same amount of experience in Europe. There will be few in the whole of Asia that have a resume to match. In addition to his time as assistant to Mourinho, Morais spent time in charge of his own clubs in six different countries ― most notably with Greek giant AEK Athens. He left his job in Ukraine to head to Jeonju.

If there is a concern about the new coach ― and you never know what is going to happen ― then he does seem to change jobs on a regular basis. Choi took the Jeonbuk job in 2005, while Morais is now at club number 15. Perhaps he has just been looking for the right club.

Jeonbuk has been hugely successful in recent years but the team has to be applauded for looking to go down a different route. Fans of other clubs, tired of the domination would welcome the Motors struggling, but it may well be good for Korean football in general if Jose Morais is a roaring success.


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