Colin Bell, the 61-year-old Englishman who leads the South Korea women’s team, is drawing inspiration from two distinguished figures as he prepares his squad for the highly anticipated FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. As the first foreigner to coach the South Korean women’s team, Bell faces the challenge of navigating cultural nuances while managing the players.
In a recent interview with BBC World Service ahead of their opening match against Colombia, Bell emphasized the significance of age and hierarchy in Korean culture. Reflecting on old interviews with Guus Hiddink, who famously guided South Korea’s men’s team to the semi-finals in the 2002 World Cup, Bell found similarities in their experiences. He recounted an incident during a game that exemplified the cultural challenge—a younger player’s failure to effectively communicate with an older teammate resulted in a conceded goal.
Bolstered by Guus Hiddink’s achievements with the men’s team in 2002, Bell aspires to replicate such success with the women’s team and lead them to glory in the Women’s World Cup.
Colin Bell boasts a diverse and international coaching career, having previously managed the Republic of Ireland women’s team and served as an assistant coach for Huddersfield Town men’s team. His wealth of experience augments South Korea’s chances in the upcoming tournament.
Beyond football, music plays a pivotal role in Bell’s pre-match routine, helping him relax. He disclosed that he carries a small music studio with him, where he covers songs by his favorite artist, Gary Numan, and shares the recordings with his family for feedback.
In a captivating twist, South Korea finds itself placed in Group H alongside football powerhouses Germany, Morocco, and Colombia. Despite recent disappointments in continental championships, Bell maintains a positive outlook on his team’s prospects. His squad trained for just one week during their off-season before facing formidable opponents like Italy and Belgium, which speaks to their determination and commitment.
Among the notable additions to the South Korean squad is 16-year-old Casey Phair, a groundbreaking talent as the first mixed-race player to represent the nation. Bell exudes confidence in her abilities and envisions her playing a crucial role in the tournament. To ease the pressure and maintain her focus, he has endeavored to shield her from media attention.
In his pursuit of success, Bell has sought valuable insights from Tottenham forward and Korean star, Son Heung-min, drawing from the experience of South Korea’s men’s team. He commended Son’s humility and outstanding skills, which have made a positive impact both on and off the pitch.
As the Women’s World Cup 2023 commences, all eyes will be fixed on Colin Bell and his South Korean team as they strive to etch their mark on the global stage and forge a lasting legacy in the realm of women’s football.