“The Japanese are mistaken to believe that they are in the company of the world’s top teams,” said former Yugoslavian Ivica Osim who is set to take over the reigns following the departure of Brazilian Zico.
“They may be so in the economical and political fields but not in football.”
“There is too wide a gap between what the Japanese national team can do and what they want to do in football,” said Osim who is said to be finalizing his contract with the JFA.
In reviewing their World Cup campaign, in which Japan finished at the bottom of Group F, he said it was important to realise what resources were available.
“They should feel lucky just to have been able to play there at the current level,” he said.
“Other nations have steadily gained strength. Even in Asia, there are fewer and fewer countries which Japan can feel certain to beat. Football in the world is ever developing.”
The 65 year old was quick to dismiss that the Japan’s physical shortcomings were necessarily their biggest area of weakness.
“Even if you select young and tall players, it doesn’t always work,” said Osim, who reputation in Japan was created through his transformation of club side JEF United Chiba.
“It will be important to call up members who can give full play to the mental and physical characteristics of the Japanese,” he added as ‘The Blue Samurai’ open their Asian Cup defence against Yemen at home on August 16.
“It is not a job that can be done in a day.”
His remarks are a far cry from the declarations from ex-coaches Zico and Frenchman Philippe Troussier who both claimed they could take Japan to a World Cup title.
“If Japan want to become the world champions, they should turn to a different coach,” Osim remarked.
“It is important to look at the reality.”