The Japan Football Association said Friday the new Japan manager will be a foreigner from a shortlist of around five, and it hopes to have him in place by the start of the new J. League season.
JFA technical director Masahiro Shimoda made it clear following an emergency technical committee meeting held at the JFA House that the new coach will not be Japanese.
Shimoda said the committee began throwing around names, with the list now pared down to around five. He did not divulge names but hopes to have signed Javier Aguirre’s successor by March 7, when the first stage of the 2015 J. League season opens.
Japan’s next games are in March, on the 27th and 31st at home to Tunisia and Uzbekistan, respectively.
“We named names and debated them,” Shimoda said. “But there’s no point in listing 10 or 20, so we’re at around that number (five) and we’re going to start negotiating from there.
“We’re receiving all kinds of information from various places — including from those who want to coach Japan. So right now we’re in the process of going through all the information available to us.
“Ideally, we want the new coach to start scouting players when the J. League season opens. To get the most out of the friendlies in March, he’ll need to see the J. League games before that.”
Shimoda said no Japanese are being considered virtually by default because the committee has decided not to sign anyone who is under contract in the J. League.
One of the few Japanese names that has surfaced since Aguirre was fired on Tuesday is Takeshi Okada, but according to one source with knowledge of the two-time World Cup coach’s thinking, Okada is not interested in the job.
“We’re not saying Japanese coaches are no good,” Shimoda said. “But as things stand, the Japanese coaches who are not contracted by J. League clubs simply are not on the list. That’s it; no more, no lesss.
“We want someone who respects Japanese football and wants to make it better. (Alberto) Zaccheroni and Aguirre were of that type, and wherever the new coach is from will be in that mold.
“We don’t think the last six months have been a waste. Even if the coach changes, the path that Japanese football needs to travel remains the same.”
Contrary to what JFA president Kuniya Daini said Tuesday, it appears Shimoda, who is chiefly responsible for the Aguirre hiring, will stay on as technical director.
Daini had said the fate of the current JFA brass, including himself and Shimoda, would be decided by the federation’s executive board next week, but that no longer appears to be the case.
Kazumasa Kume, a technical committee member and general manager of Nagoya Grampus, said Shimoda received “unanimous backing” and “thunderous applause” from representatives of all 40 J. League clubs, who were at the JFA House on Friday for a separate meeting.
“The papers are calling for him to take responsibility but there’s no one else who can do the job,” Kume said. “The J. League and the JFA need to work hand in hand toward the World Cup in Russia, and we need to show to insiders and outsiders alike that we are together. Otherwise, we will not get past this.
“It’s not an easy job. On the third of February, we were told by the president to put together a list of names with the existing technical committee, and that’s what we are doing.”