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Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007

Grampus to hire ex-star Stojkovic

BELGRADE (Kyodo) Dragan Stojkovic, who has been offered the manager's job at Nagoya Grampus Eight, said Friday he will return to his former club but declined to comment on what role he would be taking up for the J. League side.

"I intend to accept the offer I have had from Nagoya and will be returning to Japan soon," said Stojkovic.

"As the manager or the general manager? I can't make a comment about the position," said the 42-year-old, who is scheduled to travel to Japan in December.

However, Nagoya official Yoshihiro Fukushima later Friday made it clear the club was only considering hiring Stojkovic as manager.

"We are waiting for an answer. We are not thinking about any other capacity apart from the manager's job," said Fukushima. "We have to check whether he has a license to manage in the J. League and we have not had anything sent to us yet."

Fukushima said last Sunday the club had approached Stojkovic about taking over the managerial reins, the same day current boss Sef Vergoossen announced he would be stepping down at the end of the 2007 campaign.

Stojkovic, who played for Nagoya for eight years starting with the 1994 season, resigned as president of Serbian powerhouse Red Star Belgrade on Oct. 12.

A Red Star official said the same day that Stojkovic and Nagoya had agreed that he would take up the post of sports director in December.

But Stojkovic, who was instrumental in helping Yugoslavia reach the quarterfinals of the 1990 World Cup, at the time declined to speak about details other than saying that he was looking closely at the offers he had received from "Japan and other countries."

Nagoya got the season off to a fine start by winning its first four games in a row but inconsistent form has seen it drop into the bottom half of the table.



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