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TOKYO, May 1 (AFP)
Japan coach Philippe Troussier is in talks on a move to former European champions Olympique Marseille, the Frenchman told AFP on Wednesday.

Troussier, who has indicated that he will leave Japan after the World Cup, said he was "very honoured" to have been approached about possibly becoming the French club's new manager.

"I can confirm that I have been approached and that I am among two or three candidates for the post of manager," Troussier said.

He added: "It is a challenge that interests me but negotiations are still underway and no decision has been made, as the Marseille directors have made clear."

Troussier, who said he did not expect a decision before mid-May at the earliest, was speaking to AFP from Kobe in western Japan where his squad are due to face Honduras on Thursday.

He said he was flattered by the interest shown in him by France's best-supported club.

"It is a form of recognition for the work I am doing currently and have done in the past. I'm very honoured because that shows people have been following my progress."

Before taking charge of Japan, Troussier spent ten years in Africa, where he managed the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and South Africa and was nicknamed the "white witchdoctor."

Marseille won the European Cup in 1993 but the club's finest hour was tainted by subsequent revelations that they had bribed opposition players to take it easy during league matches in the runup to the final.

The club is set to finish the current season in a mid-table position after narrowly avoiding being relegated at the end of 2000-2001 season because of the precarious state of its finances.

Troussier said his goal, if he gets the job, would be to get the club back into Europe.

"Marseille is a European club -- it should be on the same level as clubs like Bayern Munich," he said.

The Frenchman underlined however that he would not take the job unless it was clear that he would be a manager in the English sense of the term -- in other words given full responsibility for handling the first team, the signing of players and the club's training and scouting operations.

It is not clear how this would square with the position of Marseille's current first team coach Albert Emon. The club announced in March that Emon would stay on until June 2003.

Troussier vowed that the talks on his own future would not distract him from the task of getting Japan beyond the first round stage of the World Cup, which kicks off on May 31.

"I have always made it clear that I did not want to carry on after the World Cup," he said. "After four years of a job that has been as uplifting and rich as my experience in Japan, I now want to pursue my own personal development elsewhere."

81 Posts
this would be the best offer for him so far.

who will be the coach of Japan national team after Trousshier has gone ?
No, we'd better concentrate to the world cup NOW. :rolleyes:
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