Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Japan's Emperor's Cup winner has global target

After his Urawa Reds won their first Emperor's Cup victory in 25 years, manager Guido Buchwald said the club's ultimate goal is to make an impression on the world stage. "We have global ambitions, but to get there we had to advance first to Asia," he told Andrew Mitchell of Asahi Herald, after the Reds 2-1 victory over Shimizu S-Pulse at Tokyo's National Stadium on 1 January.

The winner of the Emperor's Cup represents Japan at the Asian Champions League with the winner of that tournament advancing to the FIFA Club World Championship featuring the top clubs from six continents. "We have now qualified for the 2007 Asian Champions League and I am very proud of that. We will all be celebrating today," Buchwald said.

The 44-year-old former German national team defender recently inked a one-year extension to his contract with the Reds that will keep him at the club until January 2007.

Rich Freeman in the Daily Yomiuri noted that this was the third Emperor's Cup victory for Gert Engels, currently assistant coach at Urawa reds.

"Back in 1999, Gert Engels won his first Emperor's Cup - Japan's equivalent of the FA Cup - when he coached Yokohama Flugels to a 2-1 victory over S-Pulse. In 2003, he returned to the National Stadium to lead Kyoto Purple Sanga to a 2-1 extra-time win over Jubilo Iwata, before completing his hat trick on Sunday as assistant coach to Guido Buchwald at the Reds. But as the genial German pointed out, all three victories were very different," he recorded.

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