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Report: Zico top pick for Japan job

Posted: Wednesday July 03, 2002 1:15 AM
Updated: Wednesday July 03, 2002 6:14 AM

TOKYO (AP) -- Brazilian star Zico is the only candidate for the coaching post of Japan's national soccer team, the Japan Football Association president said Wednesday.

Zico, 49, is negotiating with the JFA over a possible contract, but the association hasn't decided whether to offer him the job yet, JFA president Shunichiro Okano said.

"The association's directors will make the final decision," Okano told reporters, without elaborating.

News of Zico's expected appointment was splashed across the front pages of the evening editions of Japan's sports tabloids.

The JFA is considering signing Zico to a four-year contract that would last through the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Kyodo News agency said, citing unidentified JFA sources.

Zico, a member of Brazil's 1978, 1982 and 1986 World Cup teams, is the technical director of J-League club Kashima Antlers, where he has played and coached since 1993, the league's inaugural year.

He was also technical coordinator for the Brazilian team at the 1998 World Cup in France during a leave of absence from Kashima.

The JFA has been looking for a successor to Frenchman Philippe Troussier, who surprised fans worldwide when he led Japan to the second round last month at the World Cup finals.

Troussier had said he would not renew his contract after the World Cup. He officially resigned after his team was eliminated by Turkey.

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