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Japan Introduces Alberto Zaccheroni As New Coach

For the Japanese media and fans, the wait was finally over on Tuesday (31st August) when Italian Alberto Zaccheroni was introduced as the new national team coach. Zaccheroni was presented as the successor to Takeshi
PTI September 01, 2010 11:52 IST
PTI
For the Japanese media and fans, the wait was finally over on Tuesday (31st August) when Italian Alberto Zaccheroni was introduced as the new national team coach.

Zaccheroni was presented as the successor to Takeshi Okada, and is the sixth foreigner to coach Japan - but the first Italian.

The 57-year-old former AC Milan coach follows in the footsteps of Brazilian legends Zico and Falcao, as well as Frenchman Philippe Troussier.  

Zaccheroni coached AC Milan to a Serie A title in 1998-99 and was in charge of struggling Juventus from last January until the end of the season.  

Despite being away from the limelight in the past few years, Zaccheroni is hoping to leave his mark in Japan.  "Of course I hope to stay in Japan for as long as I can. Clearly that depends on the results, but anyway I would care very much to leave a legacy in this country, something important, something that will remain even when I leave, something positive and remarkable as a sign of my presence here", he said.

JFA (Japanese Football Association) officials were reportedly concerned that the Italian lacked experience abroad and had enjoyed little success in the past decade.  But Zaccheroni was quick to allay any such fears.  

"I have 25 years experience with club teams. I have won Serie A, and I don't think there is any tougher league than Serie A. Now, after my long career, there is no greater challenge than to coach a national team. I had been receiving such requests (to be the national team coach) but I chose Japan as I think this team still has so much potential. Yes, the Japan team has developed in the last 15 years. But I still think they can grow more", Zaccheroni said.

Zaccheroni has reportedly agreed a two-year contract worth 200 million yen ($2.35 million US dollars) a year with a two-year option.  AP