The Japan Football Association (JFA) on Thursday announced the hiring of Vahid Halilhodzic as the national team’s next coach.
The former Algeria boss beat out several well-qualified candidates for the post, including Lekhwiya manager Michael Laudrup and former Kashima Antlers coach Oswaldo Oliveira.
The announcement concludes a month of speculation which began after former coach Javier Aguirre, who is embroiled in a match-fixing scandal in Spain, was dismissed following a disappointing quarter final finish at the 2015 Asian Cup.
“We wanted to select a coach who understood and had experienced football throughout the world, and to maintain our previous standards,” technical director Masahiro Shimoda wrote in a statement published to the JFA website. “In other words, we did not want to rush into this decision.
“Mr. Halilhodzic is dedicated to his work, passionate about winning, and does not compromise in order to achieve results. He has proven successful at understanding the mentality of a culture different from his own and using that country’s strengths to achieve results.
“We believe he will give Japan the ‘winning mentality’ we need.”
Having already secured the required work visa, the 62-year-old will make his Asian debut Japan face Tunisia (March 27, Oita) and fellow Asian Cup quarter-finalists Uzbekistan (March 31, Tokyo) in their last friendly matches before the second round of World Cup qualifiers begins in June.
Halilhodzic, who will be joined by assistant coach Jacky Bonnevay and physical coach Cyril Moine is scheduled to arrive in Japan on Friday morning. His introductory press conference will take place at 17:00 local time in downtown Tokyo.