Chile coach Bielsa on Japan wish-list

TOKYO - Former Argentina coaches Marcelo Bielsa and Jose Pekerman head Japan's wish-list to take over from Takeshi Okada, local media reported on Friday.

Okada is set to retire to a life of writing poetry and farming after the Blue Samurai were knocked out of the World Cup in the last 16, triggering a search for his successor.

"I want to get away from football," Okada told Japanese television on Thursday after the team returned from South Africa following their penalty shootout loss to Paraguay.

"Even if I was offered a new contract. It won't happen so let's not talk about it."

Japan's stock has risen after their surprise run to the knockout stages following victories over Cameroon and Denmark.

"The most important point is to evaluate what each of the candidates can bring to table," Japan Football Association (JFA) technical director Hiromi Hara told the Nikkan Sports.

"Experience is important but also the coach's character and passion for Japan," said Hara. "We don't want to rush."

Bielsa, 54, led Chile to the last 16 of the World Cup where they were beaten 3-0 by tournament co-favourites Brazil earlier this week.

The new coach's first task will be to win the Asian Cup in Qatar in January 2011.

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