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Monday, Aug. 30, 2010

Oliveira wants to manage Japan

Staff writer

SAITAMA — Kashima Antlers manager Oswaldo Oliveira wants to take charge of Japan's national team and is prepared to walk out on the J. League champions to do so.

The Japan Football Association has yet to to name a successor to Takeshi Okada almost two months after the World Cup manager resigned from the post, with technical director Hiromi Hara last week returning empty-handed from a monthlong overseas recruiting trip.

Hara has so far restricted his search to managers working outside Japan, but Brazilian Oliveira, who has won the J. League title every year since joining Kashima in 2007, stated his interest in no uncertain terms after his side's 1-1 draw with Urawa Reds on Saturday night.

"I love Japan, I want to stay here and I would love to help the national team," he said. "But I cannot judge.

"I feel my responsibility to the development of soccer in Japan. I think I had a part in the performance at the World Cup, because since I came to Japan too many things changed. Kashima won three times in a row and we have achieved many things. Since 2007 the other teams have copied us, and it has even had an influence on the national team.

"I am prepared, yes. I know soccer in Japan very well. If they want me — yes. If they invite me of course I will accept, but it's not up to me."

Oliveira also revealed that he has a clause in his Kashima contract that allows him to leave should any national team come calling.

"The people at Kashima are very reserved," he said. "They never talk with me about the national team. Of course I think they don't want to lose me but I am always prepared to leave. In my contract I have the situation very well explained. Any national team."

Oliveira has been nominated for the job by national team defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka and Cerezo Osaka manager Levir Culpi — both born in Brazil — over the past week, and the 59-year-old believes his nationality gives him an advantage with the South American country hosting the 2014 World Cup.

"I know everything about soccer in my country," he said. "I know the cities where the teams are going to play, and it is my home. I think this is a very strong point, not only me but any Brazilian coach."

Oliveira, who won the Club World Cup with Corinthians in 2000, says Brazil's CBF did not contact him this summer before filling its vacant manager's position with Mano Menezes, but revealed he had turned down an offer in the past.

"In 2000 they asked me and I refused that time," he said. "I was nearly the coach of the Brazilian national team in 2003, but in the end they decided not. That time I was ready to accept. This time, no. Newspapers always talk about it and they make a list, but nobody from the CBF, the federation, asked me."

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