Osim asks about game after waking from coma

December 5, 2007

TOKYO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Stroke-victim Ivica Osim's first words after waking from a coma were 'What happened in the game?' Japanese media reported on Wednesday.

The Bosnian, who suffered a serious stroke on Nov. 16, was eating ice cream and joking with family members, although the 66-year-old remains in intensive care.

'His first words were symbolic of how he has poured his life and soul into soccer,' Japan Football Association (JFA) secretary general Kozo Tajima told reporters.

Osim, who awoke from his coma last week but had been initially unable to speak, was fed ice cream and pudding by his wife Asima, according to the popular Nikkan Sports daily.

When she asked if the ice cream was too cold for him, Osim showed his sharp wit was returning.

'Well if it wasn't cold it wouldn't be ice cream, would it?' he said with a smile.

Osim collapsed at his home in Chiba, near Tokyo, last month while climbing the stairs after watching soccer on television.

The JFA will unveil former Japan coach Takeshi Okada as Osim's replacement later this week.

Osim took over from Brazilian Zico after Japan's meek exit from the 2006 World Cup but began showing signs of stress at the Asian Cup this year.

The Bosnian blasted his players as 'amateurs' after one match, reducing his interpreter to tears, and refused to watch their penalty shootout with Australia in the quarter-finals.

'I don't like penalties -- they're bad for my heart,' Osim said. 'When I heard we'd won I was jumping up and down and almost hit my head on the dressing room ceiling.'