On the day coach Paulo Bento (54, Portugal), who led Korea to the round of 16 at the 2022 FIFA (International Football Federation) 토토 Qatar World Cup, returned to his home country, this cool-headed matchmaker also shed tears at the departure gate of Incheon International Airport. It was the moment when I hugged coach Choi Tae-wook (42) goodbye. Coach Choi was the person who took over in August 2018 and stayed by Bento’s side for four years and four months until the World Cup was over in December 2022. As the only Korean among the coaching staff of the national team and a member of the semifinals of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, he faithfully served as a bridge between the players and the Bento division.
After a long voyage of over 1,500 days, Coach Choi disembarked at Lake Bento and was spending a sweet time with his family. He said, “There were crises and there were people shaking from the outside. The more he did, the more tenaciously he maintained his soccer philosophy, and the trust and solidarity within his team grew stronger.” Coach Choi said, “Thank you to Chung Mong-gyu, head of the Football Association, for believing in Bento’s style, which he wanted to win attractively, to the end. In order for Korean football, which has joined the advanced ranks, not to step back, it is necessary to select a successor coach well and support for the national team should be tighter.”