Ogura sets deadline over Japan coach fiasco

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 October 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."

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