Moriyasu new coach of Japan, replaces Nishino

Hajime Moriyasu adjusts a earphone during the press conference at the FIFA Club World Cup soccer tournament in Osaka (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

TOKYO _ Hajime Moriyasu has been named as the new coach of Japan.

The 49-year-old Moriyasu replaces Akira Nishino, whose contract expired this month after he guided Japan to the round-of-16 at the World Cup in Russia.

Moriyasu, who also serves as coach of Japan’s Olympic team, coached the J-League’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima to titles in 2012, 2013 and 2015.

He becomes the first Japanese coach to be put in charge of the national team four years before the next World Cup.

“As a manager, I cannot forget that and I am now carrying the weight of representing Japan on my shoulders,” Moriyasu said at a news conference on Thursday.

Since 1998, the Japan Football Association has appointed a foreigner to manage the national team at the start of every World Cup cycle.

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