Former Japan coach Takeshi
Okada is poised to become the surprise new manager of Chinese
Super League club Hangzhou Greentown, Japanese media reported on
The 55-year-old, who guided Japan to the last 16 of last
year's World Cup in South Africa, is currently in the eastern
Chinese city to oversee the club's facilities.
"Hangzhou have a firm vision for the future," Okada told
Japan's Nikkan Sports newspaper. "They want to win the Asian
Champions League and become the top team in Asia."
If appointed, Okada's move could mark a watershed not
dissimilar to the ping pong diplomacy which brought about a thaw
in American-Chinese relations in the 1970s.
"Actual contract negotiations I have left to my agent, but I
wanted to see the place with my own eyes and meet with the
owners and ask about their plans.
"Nothing has been decided but it's a possibility," added
Okada, who also led Japan to their first World Cup finals at the
1998 France tournament.
"It would be a challenge that excites me. China will become
a key country in many ways and Asia needs to be more fluid [in
terms of employment]."
Japan's controversial win over China in the 2004 Asian Cup
final in Beijing triggered riots.
Chinese fans again booed the Japanese national anthem and
burned the country's flag at the 2008 East Asian championships.
Many Chinese still harbour bitter resentment over Japan's
military invasion and brutal occupation of parts of the country
from 1931 to 1945, when tens of millions died.
Hangzhou finished eighth in China's top flight this year
after being promoted in 2006 and bringing Okada in would be a
The club only avoided relegation again in 2009 after two
clubs above them were punished for their part in a match-fixing
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