Troussier invited to N. Korea
Former Japan coach Philippe Troussier said Thursday he had been invited to visit North Korea, while a press report said he had been contacted for a possible job offer there.
"Some weeks ago, I was invited to go to Pyongyang but the trip has been postponed several times," the Frenchman, who led Japan to the last 16 in the 2002 World Cup on home turf, told AFP.
He said a planned trip to Pyongyang next Sunday was also called off.
"So far, we cannot say that I have received a proposal from North Korea," said the 54-year-old, now the general manager of Japan's third division side FC Ryukyu.
The Nikkan Sports daily reported Thursday that Troussier had been contacted by North Korea.
"Everything is unofficial", Troussier was quoted as saying by the daily. "They (the North Koreans) made contact with me. But I cannot comment on it because nothing has been completed yet."
North Korea, the quarterfinalists in the 1966 World Cup in England, booked a place in the finals for the first time in 44 years under the wing of current coach Kim Jong-Hun.
But they were drawn with powerhouses Brazil, Portugal and the Ivory Coast in the group stage.
The Nikkai Sports said Troussier's trip has been delayed because of his visa being processed late.
"I'm open to the challenges Asian countries face in football," he told the daily. "Besides, I have experience in Asia. I can bring that experience to the team. It will be a wonderful adventure if I can join the 2010 World Cup as a coach."
Troussier was once nicknamed the "White Witch Doctor" for his success with African teams, leading underdogs Burkina Faso to the semifinals at the 1998 African Cup soon after he was appointed.