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Mexican Aguirre set to become Japan coach

AFP-JIJI

Mexican Javier Aguirre has agreed to become Japan’s new coach following the resignation of Alberto Zaccheroni after his side’s World Cup flop, local media reported on Monday.

The 55-year-old Aguirre, who led Mexico to the last 16 of the World Cup in 2002 and 2010, will reportedly pocket around $2.45 million a year — more than twice what his predecessor was on.

The Japan Football Association (JFA) said no formal decision had been made, but the former Espanyol manager could travel to Japan to be unveiled this month, according to the Nikkan Sports daily.

The two sides have reportedly reached a basic agreement on a four-year deal through the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which would make Aguirre the highest-paid Japan coach ever.

Zaccheroni stepped down after Japan’s meek exit from the World Cup, where it was beaten by Cote d’Ivoire, held to a goalless draw by Greece and thumped 4-1 by Colombia.

The JFA has had to dig deep after the Asian champions struggled in Brazil, sparking criticism of Zaccheroni’s tactics and selection, as well as key players such as Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa.

Longtime target Jose Pekerman, currently in charge of Colombia, and former Yugoslavia captain Dragan Stojkovic were among those also linked with the Japan job.