According to reports in the Japanese press Mexican coach Javier Aguirre is set to become Japan’s new manager following Alberto Zaccheroni’s resignation.
The Japanese FA have said that no formal decision has been made, however Nikkansports newspaper reported that Aguirre will take over in July on a deal worth up to $2.45 million a year that will run through the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
During two separate spells as Mexico’s manager Aguirre led El Tri to the last 16 of the World Cup in 2002 and 2010, while Japan crashed out of the 2014 World Cup at the group stage after failing to win a game in Group C. They were hammered 4-1 by Colombia, lost to Ivory Coast 2-1 and drew 0-0 with 10-man Greece in a disappointing display. In WC history Japan have only reached the knockout stages twice in five campaigns (2002 and 2010) and Aguirre’s task will be to get the best out of talented attackers such as Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa.
Aguirre left his post as Espanyol manager in May after he guided the Barcelona based club to 14th place in La Liga, and it now seems as though he’s set to return to international management. First up he will prepare Japan for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia next January before qualification for the 2018 World Cup begins.
Japan have underachieved on the international stage and Aguirre’s job will be to turn the Samurai Blue into a side that can compete in the knockout rounds of the World Cup. They have the talent, let’s see if a new leader can do the trick.