HANOI, Vietnam — Another storm is brewing in Vietnam — and it’s got nothing to do with Typhoon Toraji which lashed parts of the country this week.
At the start of the hot and sticky typhoon season, Ivica Osim is feeling particularly prickly over the amount of preparation time available for the Asian Cup finals, and the coach didn’t mince his words when asked whether Japan is peaking at the right time ahead of Monday’s Group B opener against Qatar.
“What do you think?” said Osim on Friday. “We just had some J.League games on (June) 30th. For many months, there were two games a week so that should have an impact on the condition of the players.
“If I were to say that the players were out of shape that would be offensive to the J.League coaches. But do you think that in three days I can fix their condition? If you think so, that’s offensive to me,” the 66-year-old Bosnian said.
“Everyone needs to be more realistic. In my job, the only thing I can do is to do what I can in these conditions.”
Osim had previously blasted the Japan Football Association for bungling the build up to the finals, the crochety coach raging that his players had to play J.League matches while other teams gathered for training camps.
Japan squeezed in two short training camps before arriving in Hanoi on Wednesday for the tournament that runs until July 29. The Boys in Blue are looking for their third straight Asian title after victories in 2000 in Lebanon and 2004 in China.
Japan plays Asian Games gold medalist Qatar at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on Monday. Osim’s men also face United Arab Emirates and cohost Vietnam in their group.
Japan won 3-0 in a friendly match against local side Vietnam Army Club on Friday, with goals from defender Yuji Nakazawa, midfielder Yasuhito Endo and striker Kisho Yano. Osim used all 23 players in his squad in the match played in sweltering conditions.
There are also major concerns about the weather causing matches to be postponed after Typhoon Toraji, the first storm to hit Vietnam in typhoon season, hit Thursday.
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