World Cup: Japan's Akira Nishino to step down as national team coach

Under Akira Nishino's reins, the Samurai Blue reached the World Cup round of 16 for the first time since the 2010 tournament.
Under Akira Nishino's reins, the Samurai Blue reached the World Cup round of 16 for the first time since the 2010 tournament.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (XINHUA) - The Japan Football Association (JFA) said on Thursday (July 5) that national team coach Akira Nishino will step down when his term ends at the end of July.

"We will not ask Nishino to stay on the job, but hope he will continue to make contribution to Japanese football in other forms," said JFA president Kozo Tashima at a press conference after the national team returned from Russia.

Nishino, who also appeared at the press conference, thanked his team, saying that he hopes Japan could break the cycle of reaching the World Cup round of 16 every eight years (in 2002, 2010, 2018), and make a breakthrough at Qatar 2022.

Nishino took the job after the JFA abruptly fired former head coach Vahid Halilhodzic in early April, citing lack of trust and communication between Halilhodzic and his team members.

Under Nishino's reins, the Samurai Blue reached the World Cup round of 16 for the first time since the 2010 tournament in South Africa and were knocked out after a 3-2 defeat by Belgium.