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Hajime Moriyasu emerges as top coaching candidate for Japan national team

Kyodo

Hajime Moriyasu, who will coach Japan’s men’s team during the soccer competition at the 2020 Olympics, is the top candidate to manage the full national team, sources said Tuesday.

The members of the Japan Football Association’s technical committee, which is selecting the successor to Akira Nishino, have basically agreed to offer the job to a Japanese coach. They regard Moriyasu, 49, as the top candidate following his experience assisting Nishino during the World Cup in Russia.

The JFA is scheduled to officially name the new manager at its executive committee meeting on July 26, following a technical committee meeting on July 20.

The JFA will further discuss whether Moriyasu will be able to double as the manager for both the under-23 men’s side for the Olympics and Samurai Blue. He was appointed coach of the 2020 team last October.

Nishino had agreed to remain on as coach for Samurai Blue until the end of July, and led Japan to the knockout stage of the World Cup for the first time since the 2010 tournament in South Africa. Japan, ranked No. 61 in the FIFA rankings, was eliminated by No. 3 Belgium, which came from behind to win their round-of-16 match 3-2.

The JFA had said Nishino, the association’s former technical director, will not stay on the job.

Moriyasu managed Sanfrecce Hiroshima and won three J. League titles with them in 2012, 2013 and 2015 but resigned in July 2017 as the club flirted with relegation.