Tokyo (AP) — Former Japan head coach Akira Nishino says he wants to help Thailand’s national team become a regional power as its new manager.
“I was honored to receive this chance,” Nishino said at a recent news conference to announce his new appointment. “I went to Thailand and could see their passion. Thailand has potential. First, we will work to become leaders in Southeast Asia.”
The 64-year-old Nishino was named head coach of the Thai national team last month. He will also lead the Under-23 team.
Formerly technical director for the Japan Football Association, Nishino stepped down as Japan manager following the team’s elimination by Belgium in the Round of 16 at last year’s World Cup in Russia.
Nishino replaced Vahid Halilhodzic in the buildup to the World Cup and was praised for helping Japan exceed expectations.
The second round of Asian qualifying for the 2022 World Cup will begin in September. Thailand has been drawn in Group G with the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.