MFF Names New MNT Head Coach Following Massive Loss to Japan
As the saying goes, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Just nine days after the Mongolian men's national team fell 14-0 to Japan, the Mongolian Football Federation announced today that Japanese coach Shuichi Mase has signed a deal to lead the team moving forward until 2023.
Mase, who becomes the second-ever Japanese coach of the Mongolian national team, had a short-but-eventful playing career. Over that time he played for clubs in Japan, the United States, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Singapore, and Croatia.
He began his coaching career at JEF United Chiba of the Japanese J2 League as a translator for coaches before becoming a coach for the club himself in 2007. Since then he has been a head coach since 2015 with two stints as head coach of Blaublitz Akita and anther at Ehime FC.
Mase ends the string of three European head coaches which stretches back to March 2017 with the appointment of the now local legend Michael Weiss. He replaces Rastislav Bozik who had been at the helm of the Blue Wolves since September 2020 but only managed two official matches. Prior to the near-record setting loss to Japan, the team suffered a more respectable 3-0 defeat away to Tajikistan just five days earlier.
After the match, the Mongolian players gave Bozik a warm sending-off, offering gifts of thanks and well-wishes. Bozik's original contract was initially for only six months, a time period which ended following the match with Japan. It is unclear whether Bozik decided to pursue a different path or if the MFF declined to offer a new deal because of the team's performance.
Currently, Mase's coaching debut is scheduled for 7 June when Mongolia faces Kyrgyzstan in its last match of 2022 World Cup qualification. The team, which is already eliminated from progressing to the next round, may still schedule friendly matches.