Asian Cup: Ex-Socceroo Aloisi swears his former coach Aguirre is clean

January 12, 2015 8:03 am 

BRISBANE, Australia, Jan. 11 — A former player of Javier Aguirre has come to the defense of the under-fire Japan manager, vouching for the character and credibility of the Mexican who is suspected of match-fixing.

Australia's 2006 World Cup striker John Aloisi, who played under Aguirre for three seasons at Osasuna in Spain, said in an interview with Kyodo News on Saturday that he finds it hard to believe the former Mexico coach would ever be involved in match-fixing, knowing the type of person he is.

Aloisi said Aguirre wouldn't risk all he has achieved just for money, which he doesn't need. A court case has been filed against Aguirre and others for allegedly fixing a La Liga game in 2011 won by Zaragoza that saved them from relegation.

"I'm completely convinced Aguirre had nothing to do with it," said Aloisi, now an analyst for Fox Sports in australia where the Asian Cup opened on Friday. "Knowing him very well, I'm completely convinced he would never do something like that, to jeopardize his name."

"He's a very correct person. He'll do what it takes to win on the pitch — but within the rules. He'll never go and break rules. Knowing what he's like, if he had something against you as a person, he can tell you straight to your face. He's an honest person."

"I'm shocked (by the allegations). He wouldn't be involved. I'm sure that he'll get off. He's not the type to put his name in jeopardy — he wouldn't need to because he doesn't need the money, he's not starting out so he wouldn't need to do something like that."

"It's unfortunate for him and hopefully he can clear his name, because it's also unfortunate for the Japan national team. They're having to deal with this issue now just before a big tournament."

Aloisi and Aguirre worked together from 2002 to 2005 in La Liga. While australia are his sentimental favorites for the Asian Cup, Aloisi likes Japan — who he's scored against at both the World Cup and the Asian Cup — to defend the title.

Based on the time he spent with Aguirre, Aloisi thinks Aguirre could give Japan what they've been missing to reach the next level. Aguirre's Japan open their Asian Cup campaign against Palestine in Newcastle on Monday.

"I know Javier well," said Aloisi, who called it a career in 2011 after 55 caps and 27 goals for Australia, including the decisive penalty against Uruguay in a World Cup playoff that qualified them for Germany 2006. "Javier is a smart coach tactically, but what I liked about him the most was that he was able to motivate players."

"I saw the last two friendly games Japan played against Honduras and also Australia, and you can see that the Japanese are a lot more ruthless in front of goal. We all know how skillful the Japanese are, but sometimes they make too many passes to get to goal and the opportunities might go."

What also sets Aguirre apart from other coaches, Aloisi says, is the way he governed the dressing rooms. He said the coach is direct and straightforward with his players, who all liked working with him, which makes it all the more difficult to believe he would ever be involved in a scam.

Aloisi recalled a 2004 win over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu that underlined his credentials as a manager.

"Oh, he'll let you know if you're not doing well," Aloisi said. "But for me, he was a great man manager. He's the best manager I ever had, very good, and I still get along with him now."

"Even after I stopped playing for him there were a few years where we were keeping regular contact. He's someone that I respect highly and got along with well. And all the players I played with loved him as a coach as well."

"(Aguirre) took a side like Osasuna to the Copa del Rey final, which the club had never been to, and he also took the team to Champions League qualification. He made the players believe that they were good enough to succeed and go to the next level."

"I still remember the game when we beat Real Madrid 3-0 at their stadium, and it was because of him giving us that belief. And also you have to be good tactically to do that. To be able to do that with a team that's very modest, you have to be doing something right." (PNA/Kyodo)



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