Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Japan's Asian Cup squad dominated by J-League

Japan national football coach Ivica Osim shut the door on all but two overseas-based players when he announced his provisional 30-man roster for next month's Asian Cup. Celtic midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura and Eintracht Frankfurt striker Naohiro Takahara were the only non-J.Leaguers to make the team, which is aiming to win its third-straight continental championship at the 7-29 July tournament being co-hosted by Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. Osim passed on Eintracht's Junichi Inamoto and midfielder Koji Nakata, who featured in Japan's friendlies against Montenegro and Colombia earlier this month. "I didn't leave them out because of how they played at the Kirin Cup. I didn't rate them either way, good or bad. I left them out for other reasons entirely: one, because Inamoto joined a new club and would rather be with them than us, and two, because Nakata hasn't found a new club yet. I'd like to find him one, but that's not my job."

Osim made use of a new regulation to include seven reserve players to take account of injuries. "We have more time to make selections. I must think about that as we have three more games in the J-League and players may get injured," he said. "Among the participating countries, Japan are the only one where a league competition is still being played and we don't have enough time to prepare. It's a big disadvantage."

Goalkeepers: Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Jubilo), Seigo Narazaki (Grampus),Yohei Nishibe (S-Pulse), Eiji Kawashima (Frontale); Defenders: Yuji Nakazawa (F Marinos), Keisuke Tsuboi (Reds), Akira Kaji (Gamba), Marcus Tulio Tanaka (Reds), Yuichi Komano (Sanfrecce), Hiroki Mizumoto (JEF); Midfielders: Shunsuke Nakamura (Celtic), Hideo Hashimoto (Gamba), Naotake Hanyu (JEF), Yasuhito Endo (Gamba), Kengo Nakamura (Frontale), Keita Suzuki (Reds), Yuki Abe (Reds), Yasuyuki Konno (F.C. Tokyo), Satoru Yamagishi (JEF), Yoshiaki Ota (Jubilo), Masahiko Inoha (F.C. Tokyo), Koki Mizuno (JEF), Keisuke Honda (Grampus), Akihiro Ienaga (Gamba); Forwards: Naohiro Takahara (Frankfurt), Ryuji Bando (Gamba), Seiichiro Maki (JEF), Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo), Hisato Sato (Sanfrecce), Kisho Yano (Albirex).

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