Halilhodzic agrees to manage Japan


Ex-Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic has agreed to manage Japan, Japan Football Association president Kuniya Daini said Wednesday.

Speaking at the CONMEBOL (South American football confederation) Congress in Asuncion, Daini said Halilhodzic and the JFA have reached agreement on the basic parameters of a deal that would see the Bosnian succeed Javier Aguirre.

Halilhodzic comes at the recommendation of former Japan coach Ivica Osim, also a Bosnian. Halilhodzic’s appointment will be rubber-stamped by the JFA’s executive board on March 12.

“We will go over some details with the lawyers and if there are no problems, we can put it forth on the 12th,” Daini said.

“(JFA technical director Masahiro) Shimoda will speak about it at length. (On Thursday), he will explain how the negotiations have gone and where things stand right now.”

The terms of Halilhodzic’s contract were not immediately known. Reportedly, the 62-year-old will be offered an annual salary of €2 million ($2.2 million), which would make him the highest-paid Japan manager ever.

Shimoda returned to Japan on Wednesday having spent the past week hammering out a deal with the France-based Halilhodzic.

Upon his return, Shimoda suggested an announcement was imminent, saying, “It should be soon.” Halilhodzic himself told Bosnia and Herzegovina daily Dnevni Avaz that “everything will be known by mid-March.”

According to sources, the JFA’s technical committee had narrowed its list of candidates down to three — Halilhodzic, former Danish international Michael Laudrup and former Kashima Antlers boss Oswaldo Oliveira.

But Halilhodzic, who is currently not under contract, got the edge over Laudrup and Oliveira because the two are signed by Qatari club Lekhwiya and Palmeiras of Brazil, respectively.

The JFA cut ties with Aguirre on Feb. 3 after the two-time World Cup coach for Mexico was named as a defendant in a criminal complaint for match-fixing in Spain.

Daini said the JFA will hedge itself with Halilhodzic so it does not go down the same road it did with Aguirre.

“We just want there to be an understanding of both parties, in the event something does happen,” Daini said.