After weeks of negotiations Brazilian legend Zico has finally agreed to become head coach of the Japanese national side.
News of the Japan Football Association’s (JFA) interest in the former Brazil captain first surfaced last month. However, it wasn’t until Saturday that new JFA president Saburo Kawabuchi confirmed Zico would take charge of the team.
Zico, 49, was the star of two World Cups for Brazil. He has been with J-League side Shunichiro Okano since 1991, but admits the interest shown in him came as a bit of a shock.
“I haven’t got much experience as a coach, so it was a big surprise. I always said the last thing I wanted to be was a football coach but in life you can never say never,” said Zico.
The decision is a bold one, especially considering Kawabuchi was only elected president of the JFA last month and given Japan’s success under former boss Phillippe Troussier at this summer’s World Cup.
“Zico knows the system, so we think the ties between the J-League and the JFA will strengthen further,” said Kawabuchi.
“He has to be able to have a close relationship with all the J-League clubs in order to build a better Japan team.”
It is thought that Zico will sign an initial 11-month contract, though he will not officially take over until August 1. His first game in charge will come three weeks later against Asian Champions China.