• Kyodo

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Japan’s Rio Olympic head coach Makoto Teguramori said Thursday he is set for a return to a coaching role with the national team under head coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

Teguramori, 48, has doubled as a national team coach after the 2014 World Cup as well as the head coach for the Olympic team. He began working entirely for the Under-23 side last October, but couldn’t guide his side past the group stage in Brazil.

“I hope to provide a breath of fresh air to the Japan national team that has embarked on the final World Cup qualifiers in as tough a manner as ever before,” Teguramori said.

Teguramori is expected to provide some cushion between the Franco-Bosnian head coach and players, and will be the first Olympic-team coach to return to the national team setup after the previous coaches have gone on to manage club teams immediately after.

“Halil is strict with players but there are players who can’t be fine just receiving shock treatments. I’d like to spot them and provide support,” he said.

“It’s positive for Japanese soccer to connect experiences.”

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