Not often does Japanese football and Miami-Dade County intersect, but it did on Monday. The Japan Football Association appointed Akira Nishino as its manager. What makes this notable locally is that Akira Nishino has managed in Miami before.
The new man in charge of the national team was in charge of Japan’s U-23 side from 1994 through 1996. That included the 1996 Olympics, when group-stage matches were held at Miami’s Orange Bowl. Nishino led one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, when his squad defeated Brazil 1-0. While the Olympics are an U-23 tournament, since 1996 three players over 23 have been allowed to participate. The squad featured names like Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Dida in goal. Despite that fact, the Samurai Blue somehow managed to squeak out a 1-0 victory in Little Havana.
The loan goal of the match came from Teruyoshi Ito, who was able to poke it in after Dida and defender Aldair collided.
Nishino has only a couple of months to ready Japan for its challenge in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but if anyone knows how to get a result in unlikely circumstances, Akira Nishino may be the man.