World Cup: Japan Fires Coach
While countries finalise their preparations for the World Cup in Russia, Japan has shown its coach the exit door.
The country on Monday named respected veteran, Akira Nishino, as its new national football manager, taking an “emergency measure” after sensationally dumping Vahid Halilhodzic only two months before the World Cup.
The 63-year-old Nishino boasts an impressive array of domestic silverware and masterminded one of Japanese football’s proudest moments: beating a Brazil side containing Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos 1-0 at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Nishino will have only 70 days with the Blue Samurai before they play their first match against Colombia in a tough World Cup pool that also includes Poland and Senegal.
“We thought the new director should be appointed from inside, given we have just two months left before the World Cup,” Japan Football Association President Kozo Tashima told reporters.
“We have asked Nishino to take this position as an emergency measure.”
A former international midfielder who won 12 caps for his country, Nishino is best known for his stint at the helm of Gamba Osaka, which he steered to the team’s first Asian Club Championship in 2008.
WATCH: BOUNCE WEEK ROUND WITH TONY & JONA