Japan have named Takeshi Okada as national team manager – 10 years after he began his first spell as head coach.
The 51-year-old, who led Japan to their first World Cup finals in 1998, replaces Bosnian Ivica Osim, who suffered a stroke and fell into a coma last month.
“I can’t make Japan play Osim’s style of soccer – nobody can,” Okada told a news conference. “But I will do everything to get Japan to the 2010 World Cup.
“I will build the team step by step during the qualifiers, making the most of what the team has now.”
Japan begin their qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup in February.
“I felt a sense of duty,” he told reporters. “I thought I needed to give it my best effort for Japan. I didn’t think very deeply about the offer before accepting.”
Okada first took charge of Japan in 1997, leading the team to the 1998 World Cup finals. However, Japan’s World Cup campaign comprised three consecutive defeats and Okada was replaced by Frenchman Philippe Troussier.