• Kyodo


Vahid Halilhodzic lashed out at his critics Friday and said he will stay on as Japan national team coach out of loyalty, despite revealing that he has received other lucrative job offers.

“This is the first time I am saying this but I have had other offers with good financial terms,” the 65-year-old Bosnian told a news conference, a day after he guided Japan to next year’s World Cup finals in Russia with a 2-0 win over Australia.

“But I have goals and also have a sense of loyalty and an attachment to Japan. This is unfortunate news for those that have criticized me, but I will continue in this job, although I can’t say for how long.

“I am pleased that we have qualified for the World Cup but can’t be completely satisfied. I am aiming for even bigger things.”

Japan Football Association president Kozo Tashima attended the news conference and gave Halilhodzic, who was appointed as head coach in March 2015, his full backing.

“I want to fully support the coach and hope (Japan) become a brilliant team heading toward Russia,” Tashima said.

Friday’s press gathering was held before the team headed to Saudi Arabia for the final qualifier in Jeddah on Tuesday.

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