Statue of Former Head Coach of Japanese National Soccer Team Ivica Osim Unveiled in Chiba City

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The late Ivica Osim’s son Amar, left, and wife, Asima, stand beside a statue of the soccer legend in Chuo Ward, Chiba, on Saturday.

CHIBA — A statue of the late Ivica Osim, who served as the manager of professional soccer club JEF United Chiba and head coach of the Japanese national team, was unveiled Saturday at the Soga Sports Park in Chuo Ward, Chiba.

The life-size statue was created to honor Osim for his contributions to Japanese soccer. Osim died at age 80 in May 2022. Named the Osim Monument, the statue is 197 centimeters tall, including the pedestal.

At the unveiling ceremony, Osim’s family members, Japan Football Association President Kohzo Tashima and many soccer fans attended.

Osim’s wife, Asima, 81, shed tears and said: “He is still loved by fans, and I’m happy to see the statue standing. But I also feel the same degree of sorrow.”

Osim was born in Sarajevo in the former Yugoslavia, now the capital of Bosnia. After an exceptional career as a player and later as the head coach of Yugoslavia’s national team, he was hired to manage JEF Ichihara, the predecessor of JEF United Chiba, in 2003.

He rebuilt the club, which was stagnant at that time, into a contender. In 2005 under Osim’s leadership, JEF United Chiba won the Nabisco Cup championship for the first time in the club’s history.

From 2006 to 2007, Osim served as head coach of the Japanese national team.

Osim’s legacy includes his many candid remarks full of wit and humor such as, “Money can’t buy you braveness.” His quips attracted high praise and attention from the Japanese people.

Osim’s son Amar, 55, who also served as the manager of JEF United Chiba, said during the unveiling ceremony, “I want to express my gratitude for the warm support from both ordinary citizens and soccer fans.”