The president of the Japan Football Association has come under fire over his handling of the search for a new coach for Japan’s national team.

JFA president Saburo Kawabuchi has let it be known that his leading candidate to replace Zico as national team coach is Bosnian-born Ivica Osim.

Osim is currently under contract with the J. League’s JEF United Chiba, and team officials are upset that they weren’t consulted on the matter before Kawabuchi initiated talks with Osim. “I don’t like his way of doing things,” JEF United GM Hidetaka Ubagai was quoted as saying in Saturday’s Nikkansports newspaper. “He made contact with Mr. Osim before consulting with the team.” Kawabuchi said at a press conference on June 24 that he wanted Osim for the job.

Osim has said he is honored by the offer to coach Japan’s team but is undecided and feels an obligation to fulfill his commitment to JEF United. Kawabuchi is also being criticized for Japan’s poor performance at the World Cup.

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