TOKYO (AP) — Mexican Javier Aguirre is set to become Japan’s new coach following the resignation of Alberto Zaccheroni, local media reported on Monday.
The Japan Football Association said no formal decision has been made, but Nikkansports newspaper reported Aguirre is expected to travel to Japan in July to sign a $2.45 million a year deal that would run through the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The 55-year-old Aguirre guided Mexico to the round of 16 at the World Cup in 2002 and 2010.
Zaccheroni stepped down after Japan was eliminated from the World Cup following a 2-1 loss to Ivory Coast, a 0-0 draw to 10-man Greece and a 4-1 thrashing by Colombia.
Colombia coach Jose Pekerman and former Nagoya Grampus manager Dragan Stojkovic were also mentioned as candidates to replace Zaccheroni.
In five trips to the World Cup, Japan has only advanced to the knockout stage twice – when they co-hosted the tournament in 2002 and in 2010.
Aguirre’s first task will be to prepare Japan for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, to be hosted by Australia in January, and then qualification for the 2018 World Cup.
Aguirre’s most recent coaching job was with Spanish side Espanyol last season when the team finished 14th in La Liga.