Japan to stick with Javier Aguirre for Asian Cup title defence

Japan sticks by Aguirre; Mirallas escapes ankle damage; Romanian joins Guangzhou.
Japan's head coach Javier Aguirre will not have to keep looking over his shoulder for a hook. He will coach the Blue Samurai through their Asian Cup title defence. Thomas Peter / Reuters
Japan's head coach Javier Aguirre will not have to keep looking over his shoulder for a hook. He will coach the Blue Samurai through their Asian Cup title defence. Thomas Peter / Reuters

 Japan

Japan will stick with coach Javier Aguirre for next month’s Asian Cup title defence, despite the former Mexico coach being involved in a match-fixing investigation. Aguirre is set to appear in a Valencia court in February following a probe into match-fixing allegations dating from 2011, when he was manager of Spanish side Real Zaragoza. Prosecutors in Spain allege that Aguirre and 40 others were involved in rigging a Primera Liga match, which saw Zaragoza defeat Levante 2-1 to avoid relegation. The prosecutors claim Zaragoza paid a total of €965,000 (Dh4.4m) into the bank accounts of several of its coaches, staff and players, who then gave the money to Levante’s players as a “bribe”. Aguirre, 56, vehemently denies any wrongdoing, and the Japan Football Association (JFA) said he would continue as national team coach for January’s Asian showpiece in Australia. “Aguirre will lead the national team in the Asian Cup,” JFA technical director Hiromi Hara said. “What we need to do now is to understand the current situation correctly and, most importantly, to collect information to see where the scandal is going.”

 Everton

Scans of Everton forward Kevin Mirallas’s injured ankle have revealed no major damage and he could return to action in two weeks, manager Roberto Martinez said yesterday. The Belgium international, 27, was stretchered off after being fouled by Jordon Mutch in the latter stages of Everton’s 3-1 win over Queens Park Rangers on Monday, having previously scored. But tests have shown that he has sustained only minor ligament damage, meaning he could play some part in Everton’s festive fixture programme. “The damage is the least it could be,” Martinez said. “It is an external ligament in his ankle, and the way he is as a quick healer, I don’t expect him to be out for too long.”

 Sunderland

Guy Poyet, the Sunderland manager, appeared to criticise the club’s transfer policy when asked if he was going to strengthen his struggling squad in the January transfer window. “I want more quality. Do I think I’ll get it? I don’t know,” Poyet said yesterday. “You know what is missing. It is clear what we need to do. That is down to recruitment. So, if you ever get the chance to speak to anyone on the recruitment side and ask them about it, you are lucky. If you don’t, don’t ask me.” Sunderland, who face Newcastle United in a Tyne-Wear derby on Sunday, are without a win in six games and are 15th in the Premier League, two points above the relegation zone.

 China

Guangzhou have secured the services of Getafe’s Cosmin Contra as their new coach, the Chinese Super League club said yesterday. Romanian Contra, 39, and other coaching staff will arrive in Guangzhou soon to complete the deal, the Chinese club said on their website. Financially troubled Getafe had urged Contra to accept Guangzhou’s offer and help the Primera Liga club to raise funds. “I’m the only one at Getafe who has an offer. They want to sell me in China,” said Contra, who took over at the Spanish club in March. “I know the problems and I would do that for the club, which is going through some pretty bad financial times,” said the former Romania international, who replaces well-travelled Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson in the position.

Follow us on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

Published: December 18, 2014 04:00 AM

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