Ex-Gamba Osaka boss Nishino to replace Halilhodzic as Japan coach

Ex-Gamba Osaka boss Nishino to replace Halilhodzic as Japan coach

Ex-Gamba Osaka boss Nishino to replace Halilhodzic as Japan coach

JFA technical director Akira Nishino has been brought in as Halilhodzic's replacement with only ten weeks before Japan kick off their World Cup campaign.

Halilhodzic being replaced comes just two months until the start of the World Cup finals in Russian Federation and despite the 65-year-old guiding Japan to its sixth straight appearance in the World Cup finals.

A former worldwide midfielder who won 12 caps for his country, Nishino is best known for his stint at the helm of Gamba Osaka, which he steered to the team's first Asian Club Championship in 2008.

"We have asked Nishino to take this position as an emergency measure".

The head of the association praised Halilhodzic for helping Japan qualify for its 6th straight World Cup.

Japan have three friendly preparation matches remaining before taking on Colombia, Poland and Senegal in a testing group.

Nishino is the former coach of Japanese club Gamba Osaka, and also coached Japan at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Japan newspaper, Hochi Daily also reported that a sense of unity was lacking between the players and the coach.

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He guided them to the 2018 World Cup-their sixth consecutive qualification for football's biggest tournament-after they overcame the likes of Saudi Arabia and Australia to top Asia's qualifying Group B.

Halilhodzic, who recovered from being wounded in 1992 during the Bosnian war, insisted he was no "dictator" - but acknowledged his frank approach was capable of "wounding" some people in Japan.

"For the new coach, we had no choice but to promote from within the association as the World Cup is only two months away", Tashima added.

South Korea's run to the semifinals in 2002 as co-host remains the best run by an Asian team at the World Cup.

He missed out on leading Ivory Coast during the tournament in 2010 when he was sacked as national coach just months before the finals following the team's disappointing performance in the African Cup of Nations.

Halilhodzic was hired in March 2015 after leading Algeria to the knockout stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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