Football: Troussier to take over as Japan coach

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The Independent Online
PHILIPPE TROUSSIER will next week be offered a two-year contract to become Japan's new coach. The Japan Football Association said yesterday that Troussier, who coached South Africa at the World Cup finals in France, was due to visit Japan next week for talks.

JFA officials said if the discussions went as planned 43-year-old Troussier would sign a provisional two-year contract that would see him take Japan to the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. He would replace Japan's World Cup coach, Takeshi Okada, who resigned after the team's poor showing at France 98.

JFA officials said Troussier, who had also been linked with Sheffield Wednesday, had been recommended to them by Arsene Wenger, who is the former manager of Nagoya Grampus Eight. Wenger, who is working for the JFA as a technical adviser, had been a candidate himself for the Japan job until he confirmed that he was staying with Arsenal earlier this month.

The JFA executive board hopes to finalise details of Troussier's appointment at a special meeting scheduled for 10 September.

Troussier, who has spent a decade coaching clubs and national teams in Africa, was linked with coaching posts at Sheffield Wednesday and Celtic earlier this summer. His contract with South Africa expired after France 98. Japan are co-hosting the 2002 World Cup finals with South Korea.

The Croatian international Robert Jarni has signed a three-year contract with Real Madrid, rejecting an offer to join Coventry City. Real Betis, the attacking midfielder's former club, had reached an agreement with Coventry but Jarni rejected the offer, opting instead to stay in Spain where he has enjoyed three successful seasons at Real Betis.

Real Madrid said it had agreed to pay Real Betis pounds 3.3m for Jarni, but it is still unclear whether they will have to pay the Seville-based club or Coventry, who claim the player has signed a legally binding contract with them.

"This decision was really to do with family matters." Jarni explained, "and in particular my daughter. It's easier for her to adapt to life in Madrid than life in England. I'm happy that everything's settled now. I've signed for the biggest club in the world."

Real Madrid now have until 20 August to finalise the signature and ensure that Jarni is eligible for the club's European Champions' League campaign.

Assuming there are no problems with the move, the 29-year-old will link up with his fellow Croatian international Davor Suker at the Madrid club.