Seoul: North Korea have replaced suspended head coach Yun Jong-su with his predecessor Jo Tong-sop for next month’s Asian Cup campaign in Australia.
Jong-su was banned for 12 months by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) earlier this month for “offensive behaviour” during the Asian Games final in South Korea, where they lost 1-0 to the hosts.
Jong-su and the North Korean bench remonstrated with officials after the match and accused referees of favouring their bitter rivals South Korea.
Jong-su’s ban meant the former international was not allowed to enter the dressing room or the area surrounding the field of play, but could still attend training sessions and undertake other football-related activities, the AFC said.
North Korea, who will compete in their fourth Asian Cup in Australia, did not respond to requests to confirm the switch, but the AFC said Tong-sop had been registered as head coach for the January 9-31 tournament.
Tong-sop led the highly secretive North at the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar, but departed shortly after following a group stage exit.
The North will do well to better than mark in Australia, having been drawn in a tough looking Group B alongside Uzbekistan, China and Saudi Arabia.
The North qualified for the 16-team finals after winning the now defunct Challenge Cup for emerging nations in 2012, under the guidance of Jong-su.
It was unclear whether Jong-su, in his second spell in charge, would resume his role as head coach of the North when his AFC suspension ended next year.