Hara takes temporary charge of Japan
Japan Football Association technical director Hiromi Hara will take over the reins of the national team for their two friendly matches at the beginning of September after being frustrated in his search for a new manager.
The Samurai Blue reached the second round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ under Takeshi Okada but the 55-year-old opted to step down following their exit from the tournament in South Africa.
Hara was tasked with appointing a successor and had hoped to quickly have a new coach in place, but he has so far been rejected by former Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini, who wanted to stay in Europe, and Ernesto Valverade, who re-signed with Olympiakos.
Consequently, Hara has been left with no choice but to lead Japan for home friendlies with Paraguay on 4 September and Guatemala three days later.
"Valverde decided to re-sign with Olympiakos and Pellegrini informed us that he wanted to stay in Europe in mid-August," said Hara. "As technical director, I have an opinion on what Japan need to do to take the next step forward. Just because a new coach won't be here, I can't imagine the players who are chosen won't care."
Hara is determined to secure an experienced overseas coach and is prepared to bide his time in order to have the right man in place for the 2011 Asian Cup in January. "The new manager must have experience coaching at the highest levels in Europe or South America, like the Champions League or the Copa Libertadores," he added.
"He must also respect Japan and seek to play to our strengths like (Ivica) Osim and Okada did. He must also be willing to work in Asia, endure all the travelling and the difference in religions, and work with Japanese staff. He must be in sound health because the national team coach's job is a high-pressure job."