Bosnia`s Vahid Halilhodzic named as Japan coach

Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic was named the new coach of Japan`s national team on Thursday, following the sacking of Mexican Javier Aguirre last month after their Asian Cup flop.

AFP| Updated: Mar 12, 2015, 20:13 PM IST
Bosnia`s Vahid Halilhodzic named as Japan coach

Tokyo: Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic was named the new coach of Japan`s national team on Thursday, following the sacking of Mexican Javier Aguirre last month after their Asian Cup flop.

The 62-year-old, who led Algeria to the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time last year, was formally appointed after a meeting of the Japan Football Association`s (JFA) executive board.

The JFA fired Aguirre after Japan`s Asian Cup quarter-final defeat in January amid allegations of match-fixing dating back to a previous tenure in Spain. 

Halilhodzic will earn an estimated salary of 2 million euros ($2.27 million) through to the 2018 Russia World Cup after guiding Algeria to the last 16 in Brazil.

Japan exited the 2014 World Cup with barely a whimper under Italian Alberto Zaccheroni before their Asian Cup defence ended in an embarrassing last-eight defeat to the United Arab Emirates on penalties in Sydney.

With corruption charges hanging over Aguirre`s head, the JFA`s top brass decided to terminate his contract with one eye on Japan`s World Cup qualifying campaign, which begins in June.

Halilhodzic is scheduled to arrive in Japan on Friday in time for this month`s home friendlies against Tunisia on March 27 and Uzbekistan four days later.

The Bosnian left the Algeria job in a tearful farewell, despite pleas from the country`s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to stay on and is said to have been introduced to the JFA by countryman and former Japan coach Ivica Osim.

Former Danish international and Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup and Italian Luciano Spalletti, who led Zenit St. Petersburg to two Russian titles in his last managerial post, were among other candidates linked to the Japan job.

Former England coach Glenn Hoddle and German Felix Magath were also mentioned as potential candidates.