• Kyodo

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Japan Football Association president Kuniya Daini revealed he spoke with Vahid Halilhodzic, who has reached a basic agreement to become Japan’s next national team coach, during a layover in Paris before returning home from his South American trip on Saturday.

Daini said he spoke with the 62-year-old Halilhodzic for about 1 hour, 20 minutes, at a hotel.

“I think he is an exceptional leader,” said Daini, without going into detail.

“It hasn’t been formally decided yet,” he added of the impending deal.

Halilhodzic’s appointment is set to be rubber-stamped by the JFA’s executive board on Thursday. He is reportedly being offered an annual salary of €2 million, which would make him the highest-paid Japan coach ever.

JFA technical director Masahiro Shimoda, who returned from France earlier this week after hammering out the deal, said the Bosnian will not be traveling to Japan before Thursday’s meeting.

Daini, who was attending the CONMEBOL (South American football confederation) Congress in Asuncion, did not know when the ex-Algerian coach will take the reins. Japan faces Tunisia in friendlies on March 27 and Uzbekistan on March 31, respectively.

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