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Friday, Oct. 6, 2006

Osim: Give players more time


Staff writer

Three months seems like a decent amount of time for Japan's players to work out the tactics and strategies demanded by Ivica Osim, but Mrs. Osim might beg to differ.

The new national team coach says he's been married for 40 years and his wife still doesn't understand him.

Osim bemoaned the lack of time the new-look Boys in Blue have spent under his instruction after his first home defeat since taking over from Zico, a 1-0 reverse against Ghana on Wednesday, and he wasn't too optimistic of things changing in the future.

"I have been married for 40 years and the wife and I still don't have an automatic understanding, so how would a team have such an understanding in a couple of months?" Osim said to reporters.

"Do you think a three-day training session will give us that?

"It is true we can't play better without a better understanding so I think the team needs to get together more often. Today, five new players came in from five different teams and it would be a miracle if they already had such a perfect understanding.

But as far as I know, we haven't got much chance of spending more time together as the J. League is heating up and my players are all involved in this and I have to respect that."

Japan has lost twice in five matches under Osim, with a friendly win against an under-strength Trinidad & Tobago and two unconvincing victories against Yemen in Asian Cup qualifiers offsetting a loss to Saudi Arabia in the same competition and Wednesday's reverse.

It is the lack of goals since Osim took over -- five in five games -- that has drawn a lot of the criticism, though, with only two from the forwards.

Osim suggested after the Ghana game that he is tempted to be more adventurous up front in the future.

"I think we were very offensive against Ghana, but the result tells a different story.

"But I think we want to continue with an aggresive attacking formation. Didn't I say we might play with four up front?"

Japan finished the game with substitute forwards Ryuji Bando and Kazuki Ganaha supported by attacking midfielders Makoto Hasebe and Kengo Nakamura as Osim chased an equalizer.

It was a Japan-based squad that faced Ghana and Osim dismissed calls that European-based players like Celtic's Shunsuke Nakamura should have been brought back for the game. "The Ghana game was another test for the Japan-based players. The guys in Europe face players of Ghana's quality every week. The J. League players I had in the squad tonight don't so it was the perfect opportunity to test them."

Cautious words of encourgement for Osim came from Ghanaian midfielder Stephen Appiah, who plays under Zico at Fenerbahce.

"I didn't see really see anyone who was great, but I like the way No. 11 (Hisato Sato) played. It's not said as a putdown, I don't think, but I'm just indicating that they were good but weren't at the same level as guys like Ronaldinho, Kaka and Adriano."



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