Former Japan and Yugoslavia soccer national team manager Ivica Osim has died, Austrian club Sturm Graz, one of the clubs he piloted, said Sunday. He was 80.
The Sarajevo-born former forward, who played for Yugoslavia at the 1964 Olympic Games, managed his country to the quarterfinals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy. He managed Japan after the 2006 World Cup but left the post in November 2007 after suffering a brain infarction.
Osim first arrived in Japan to take the reins at JEF United, then in the J. League first division, in 2003, guiding the club to its first major title with the League Cup in 2005 and infusing the attacking ideology of making a “run with purpose.”
Osim sought to bring the best out of the Japan national team after succeeding Zico. He played to his players’ strengths of stamina and decision-making.
He became a firm fan favorite in Japan due to his way with words before he was forced to make a premature exit due to his health complications.
After his recovery, Osim worked to normalize the national association of his home nation, Bosnia Herzegovina, which was banned from FIFA due to ethnic divisions within the organization.
He played a vital role in getting the ban lifted and the country went on to make its World Cup debut in 2014.
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