Halilhodžić “ I want to achieve big with Japan National Team ”
14 March 2015
On 13 March, new Japan National Team head coach Vahid Halilhodžić spoke to media in a press conference in Tokyo and said with hope “I want to achieve big things with Japan National Team.”
The new bench boss, who had his appointment finalised in the JFA Executive Board Meeting on the previous day, arrived in Japan in the morning of 13. In the afternoon press conference after officially signing the contract, Halilhodžić appeared in front of over 240 media members and a flurry of camera flashes. He stood up with the MC’s introduction, bowed and said “KONNISHIWA”, Japanese language greeting. Then he started his confident remarks.
“I am very happy to be called upon here. I feel this involves a great deal of responsibility. I am going to achieve really big things with Japan National Team.” said the coach.
He revealed that he took this coaching job after considering many other offers, and according to him, the reason was this job required “something which is very similar to his mentality.” He explained, saying “We share discipline, order, respect and seriousness, which are very important in football.”
“Our main objective is to qualify for the FIFA World Cup (in 2018), but we don’t just want to play there. We want to get through the first round and into the knockout stage. I think Japan have the quality necessary to achieve this.” added Halilhodžić.
He has coached the teams such as Raja Casablanca of Morocco, LOSC Lille and Paris Saint-Germain of France and Côte d'Ivoire National Team and for his previous assignment he improved Algeria National Team from 52nd in the FIFA Ranking in 2011 to 17th and led the country to the first Round of 16 berth in the country’s history at the FIFA World Cup last year. He showed glimpse of his confidence, saying “I believe Japan can do the same. That’s why I came here.”
The 62-year-old new head coach told he had watched videos of Japan National Team in the World Cup and Asian Cup and analysed plays before his arrival and pointed out Japan “may have lost some confidence, but can be improved in some areas.” “I want to give them confidence and help them win as soon as possible, but I would like to ask for a little time. If I am allowed with some time, I’m sure we will be able to show good results.”
What he expects from players, he says, are collectively attacking and defending all together, quickly building up with fewer touches and getting three to four players involved in plays in the box. He also says “They need to be at a high level in physicality, tactics, strategy and mental readiness but those can be improved and we will be able to show a higher level of those.”
Before he started his coaching career, he played as a forward for Yugoslavia National Team including at the 1982 FIFA World Cup. He said of his philosophy “I hate to lose. I will go out and try to win even against the best team in the world. The worst thing you can do is to lose without trying to win.” “I want to meet the players soon and talk about my philosophies and how I do my job. I want to lay strong will to win.” He certainly seemed that he could not wait for the start of his work with the team which is scheduled later this month.
Coach Halilhodžić will start visiting J.League matches on 14 March and coach the first match at Kirin Challenge Cup 2015 against Tunisia at Oita Bank Dome in Oita on 27. After leading the team in one more match against Uzbekistan on 31 at JAL Challenge Cup 2015 at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo, the team will move on to the FIFA World Cup Asian Second Qualifiers in June.
Vahid Halilhodžić, Head coach（SAMURAI BLUE Japan National Team）
I am very happy to be called upon here and I would like to thank many people including President Daini and Technical Committee Chairman Shimoda. I feel this involves a great deal of responsibility. But I am going to achieve really big things with Japan National Team. In the last two weeks before I arrived here, I watched videos of all the matches at the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup. The results were not good, but they showed some quality plays. They may have lost some confidence. Some players were much better several years ago. Through talking with those players, I want to encourage them, tell them they played better before, and help them make better efforts. Speaking of life here in Japan, I want to get used to eating what Japanese people eat, and I think my life here gets better through respecting Japanese culture and society. (My home country) Bosnia has experienced very delicate times, but I know Japan had difficult times as well. In the Yugoslav Wars, I myself fought to protect the country and I experienced some tragic moments in life. But I have been living a wonderful life because of football. Japan plays football very seriously. I want to focus on this Japan National Team job, take it to a better situation, and achieve something. I think players have what it takes to work with me and they can go to a higher level. Ivica Osim (former Japan National Team head coach) is a very good friend of mine, and he shared many things about Japan with me. Hopefully he will come to Japan to watch a match.
Mr. DAINI Kuniya（President of Japan Football Association）
In the Executive Board Meeting yesterday, we had the approval to appoint Mr. Vahid Halilhodžić new head coach of Japan National Team, and before this we just signed the deal with Mr. Halilhodžić to officially have him as the coach. He has an excellent background as a head coach. As we have the FIFA World Cup 2018 Asian Qualifiers start in June, he doesn’t have a lot of time. But we would like him to do his best to improve Japan National Team. We also asked him to cooperate with us to develop lower age categories and youth players, and he answered he was glad to do it. So we are very satisfied. We hope he will lead the team to get better with strong leadership.
KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2015
SAMURAI BLUE vs Tunisia National Team
Friday, 27 March 2015 Kick Off at 19:30 / Open 16:30 (estimate time) Oita / Oita Stadium
JAL CHALLENGE CUP 2015
SAMURAI BLUE vs Uzbekistan National Team
Tuesday, 31 March 2015 Kick Off at 19:25 / Open 16:25 (estimate time)Tokyo / Tokyo Stadium
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