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Women's national football coach pledges cooperation with domestic clubs

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

South Korea women's national football head coach Colin Bell said Monday he'll be working closely with coaches of domestic clubs, stressing the importance of building mutual trust through continued communication.

Bell met with head coaches of the eight clubs in the semi-professional WK League at the Korea Football Association (KFA) House on Monday. In the press conference that followed, the Englishman insisted that the national team program can't be successful without the help and support of clubs.

"One of the important aspects (of the meeting) was to make sure that everybody is aware that we want to be successful as a national team, and we can only be successful when club coaches are working very well and very hard," Bell said. "I think it's important to honor the work that's done at the club level. We wanted to get together and make it 'our' national team, and not mine."

To that end, Bell has agreed not to schedule matches during the September international window and will instead have matches during October and November. The new WK League season begins in two weeks.

"We've agreed to leave the September window for WK League so they can carry on playing," Bell said. "It's a very important message that we're sending out that we're helping each other."

Bell will use the October and November windows to prepare his team for Olympic qualifying matches in February next year.

South Korea will take on China in the two-legged playoff series, with a spot at the Tokyo Olympics on the line. Those matches were originally scheduled for March this year but were pushed back multiple times before the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), following the one-year postponement of the Olympics, settled on Feb. 19 and 24, 2021.

With international football on hold for much of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bell acknowledged preparation has been difficult but that it's been the case for everyone else, too.

"I think in life, you just have to adapt to situations," he said. "Things we can't influence, we don't worry about. Things we can influence, we do them 100 percent. We now know when we play China. We're confident we'll be as well prepared as possible."

Bell said he met with some national team players recently to catch up over coffee, and he came away impressed with how they've been able to stay disciplined during the inactive period brought on by the pandemic.

"I know the work ethic of the players is very good," he said.

"They're full professional, and they'll be adapting to the situation and trying to make the best of it."

South Korea are ranked 18th in the world, three spots below China. In 37 all-time meetings, South Korea have four wins, six draws and 27 losses against China.

South Korea, dubbed the Taeguk Ladies, have never played in the Olympic women's football tournament. (Yonhap)
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