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Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008

Ooft to return as Iwata manager

Kyodo News

Former Japan coach Hans Ooft has been appointed as manager of Jubilo Iwata for the second time after the J. League club on Monday named the Dutchman to replace Atsushi Uchiyama.

Ooft, who managed Iwata from 1994 to 1996 and has also had spells in charge of Kyoto Sanga and Urawa Reds, has been given a contract running through the end of the season.

Ooft, 61, the first foreigner to be appointed head coach of Japan, came within seconds of leading the national team to a place in the World Cup finals for the first time.

In what is commonly referred to as the "Tragedy of Doha," Ooft's team conceded a last-gasp equalizer against Iraq in its World Cup qualifier in Qatar and missed out on the 1994 finals in the U.S.

Once-mighty Iwata sacked Uchiyama last Thursday, a day after a 0-0 draw with fellow struggler JEF United Chiba left it third from bottom in the first division.

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