Hajime Moriyasu, Japan's coach for the men's soccer team for the 2020 Tokyo Games, is the top candidate to manage the national team, sources close to the matter said Tuesday.
The members of the Japan Football Association's technical committee, which is selecting the successor to Akira Nishino, have basically agreed to offer the job to a Japanese. They regard Moriyasu, 49, as the top candidate following his experience assisting Nishino during the World Cup in Russia.
The JFA is scheduled to officially name the new manager at its executive committee on July 26 following a technical committee meeting on July 20.
The JFA will further discuss whether Moriyasu will be able to double as the manager for both the under-23 men's side for the Olympics and the Samurai Blue. He was appointed coach of the 2020 team last October.
Nishino had agreed to coach the Samurai Blue until the end of July, and led them to the first knockout stage for the first time since Japan reached the last 16 at the 2010 finals in South Africa. Japan, ranked No. 61 in the FIFA rankings, were eliminated by No. 3 Belgium, who came from behind to win the round-of-16 match 3-2.
The JFA had said that Nishino, the association's former technical director, will not stay in the job.
Moriyasu managed Sanfrecce Hiroshima and won three J-League titles with them in 2012, 2013 and 2015 but resigned in July last year as the club flirted with relegation.