Osim suffers stroke

Japan's national coach remains in hospital.

    Japan's head coach Ivan Osim is known as an intense
    character [GALLO/GETTY]
    The coach of Japan's national football team, Ivica Osim, was unconscious and in an intensive care unit, a day after suffering a stroke.

    The 66-year-old Bosnian, in charge since Japan's exit from the 2006 World Cup, had collapsed after climbing stairs at his home in Chiba, east of Tokyo, early on Friday after watching football on television.

    "That he is still in an intensive care unit means we can't be optimistic," Kozo Tajima, Japan Football Association (JFA) technical director, said.

    "He hasn't gotten worse and he hasn't gotten better. He's unconscious," he added, saying that at the request of Osim's family no further details were being given out.

    "The only thing the soccer world wants is for him to become well enough to be able to leave the intensive care unit."

    At the Asian Cup in July, Osim often appeared irritated and angry before his team fell 3-2 to Saudi Arabia in the semi-finals, at one point calling his own team "amateurs" and reducing his translator to tears.

    Osim drew attention for leaving the pitch when his team took the penalty kick that ultimately led them to a 4-3 shootout victory over Australia.

    "Penalties are not good for the heart so I left the pitch," Osim said at the time.

    "I didn't want to collapse and die. I also didn't want to jinx my team by staying to watch."

    Fellow coaches had said Osim was under abnormal pressure after Japan's meek first-round exit from the 2006 World Cup.

    The team's failure to win their third consecutive Asian Cup title and fourth overall was not offset by a 4-1 victory over Egypt in their latest game last month.

    The team, ranked 30th in the world, is on break now, according to JFA vice chairman Junji Ogura.

    Friendly matches are scheduled for late January before games against World Cup qualifier rivals, including North Korea, in February.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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