Osim, ex-Japan soccer coach, dies at 80

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Ivica Osim, former head coach of Japan’s national soccer team, is seen Austria in 2014.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Ivica Osim, former head coach of Japan’s national soccer team, died in the Austrian city of Graz on Sunday morning. He was 80.

Osim was born in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, currently the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1941. He participated in the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games as a member of Yugoslavia’s national soccer team.

He became head coach of Yugoslavia’s national team in 1986, leading the team to last eight in the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy.

Osim came to Japan in 2003 to become coach of the soccer club now called JEF United Ichihara Chiba. Under his leadership, the team won its first J. League title in 2005.

He was known for witty remarks on his philosophy about soccer.

Osim became head coach of Japan’s national team in July 2006 just after the year’s FIFA World Cup in Germany, succeeding Zico, a Brazilian soccer legend.

But Osim suffered acute cerebral infarction in November 2007. He was replaced by Takeshi Okada, who led the Japanese national team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Osim later recovered and served as adviser to the Japan Football Association between June and December 2008.

Under Osim, Japan’s national team marked 12 victories, three losses and five draws.