Tokyo: Japanese Football Association (JFA) chief Junji Ogura has set an October deadline to appoint a new national team coach after an embarrassing delay since this year`s World Cup.
Takeshi Okada left the job after taking Japan to the last 16 in South Africa and the JFA have been criticised for failing to appoint a big-name successor.
Former Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini and high-profile Dutchmen Marco van Basten and Ronald Koeman are among a long list of prospective candidates to have been linked with the job.
Japan will face Paraguay, who knocked them out of the World Cup on penalties, in a friendly in Yokohama on Sept. 4 and Guatemala in Osaka with a caretaker manager in the dugout.
Ogura wants the new manager in place for an Oct. 8 home friendly with Argentina and an away game with Asian rivals South Korea on October 12.
"We`ve thrown the ball to the candidates and now all we can do is wait for the reply," Ogura told Friday`s Nikkan Sports newspaper.
"It`s not been easy this time. If talks break down we will have to go back to square one but I want a new coach in place for the two games in October."