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Monday, Dec. 26, 2005

Buchwald stands by Urawa Reds


By GUS FIELDING
Kyodo News

SAITAMA (Kyodo) Guido Buchwald has no regrets about choosing club over country and says his desire to make Urawa Reds Japan's top club was the deciding factor in turning down a job with Germany at next year's World Cup finals.

The 44-year-old former World Cup winner guided Japan's most passionately supported team to their first-ever league success in his first season as a manager and a burning desire to "take the Reds forward" took priority over a desk job in Germany.

Buchwald was offered a position as director of sports by the German football federation but instead opted to sign a new one-year deal with the Reds earlier this week.

"It was difficult to decide for me to stay here or go back to Germany because I had a very good offer from the German federation. But I have decided to go forward with the Reds," said Buchwald.

"I have been here two years as Urawa coach and it was my first two years as a coach. It was a good experience and I have many ideas and the players are getting better."

"If I had gone to Germany it would have been a different position. It was not a coaching position it was a position in management and in the office and for organizing -- a desk job," he said.

Buchwald was flattered at being approached for the job by former Germany teammate and now team manager Oliver Bierhoff.

"I spoke with Oliver and they wanted me. It's interesting because next year it's the World Cup in Germany but I can't be in two places at once."

"It is good for me that they asked me and I was very happy that they wanted me. For me getting a lot of offers is always a good position to be in."

Buchwald, who played for Urawa for three-and-a-half years until 1997, guided the Reds to the second-stage title in 2004 after being hired as a replacement to Dutchman Hans Ooft.

He led them to a runnerup finish in the J. League this year.

In a bid to bolster his squad for next season, Buchwald has signed former Brazil international striker Washington from relegated Tokyo Verdy and has not given up hope on Japan midfielder Shinji Ono rejoining the club from Feyenoord.

"I'm 95 percent optimistic Ono will come back to the Reds," said Buchwald.

"It's not 100 percent but I think he wants to come back. The other thing he is thinking of is staying in Europe because of the World Cup. I just don't think he wants to stay with Feyenoord but I don't think he has had an offer from another club."

Urawa is still awaiting a response from injury-plagued Ono, who is keen to continue plying his trade in Europe but will almost certainly choose to play for the Reds should he return to Japan.



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