FIFA Women's World Cup™ Trophy Tour starts in Japan
28 February 2023
Ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™, in which the Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team) will compete, the FIFA Women's World Cup™ Trophy Tour made its first official stop in Japan on Saturday 25 February and Sunday 26 February. A media event was held on the 25th at the Japan Football Museum’s virtual stadium, located on the ground floor of JFA House.
Following the opening remarks by JFA President TASHIMA Kohzo and FIFA Senior Trophy Tour Manager Ms. Sarah GANDOIN, the trophy was unveiled by FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011™ winning members Ms. SAWA Homare and Ms. MIYAMA Aya . Speaking of their memories, Ms. SAWA said, “When we won the World Cup and raised the trophy in 2011, it felt very heavy because it carried the thoughts of all the people who had been involved in women's football in the past,” while Ms. MIYAMA recalled, “When Sawa-san raised the trophy, she looked a bit stiff because it was something we have never done before.”
The event was followed by a talk session with Ms. SAWA, Ms. MIYAMA, Mr. SASAKI Norio, Chairperson of the JFA Women's Committee, Mr. IKEDA Futoshi, Head Coach of Nadeshiko Japan, and 11 current players of Nadeshiko Japan. Facing the two legends who played in the 2011 tournament, FUJINO Aoba (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza), who was seven years old at the time, nervously mentioned, “I had just started playing football back then. I watched the matches on TV and saw Sawa-san and Miyama-san fighting for our country, and it really made me want to hoist the trophy as a member of Nadeshiko Japan.”
YAMASHITA Ayaka (INAC Kobe Leonessa) also commented on her preparation for this year's FIFA Women's World Cup™, “I am training daily with a stronger sense of awareness, and with my eyes set on the task at hand. We want to inspire the girls who will lead the future of women's football".
After a Q&A session with the media, the ball was passed from Ms. SAWA and Ms. MIYAMA to UEKI Riko (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza). Ms. SAWA headed the ball thrown by Ms. MIYAMA into the hands of Ueki, as the two legends passed down the torch to the current Nadeshiko Japan. During the final photo session, the protective case was removed for Ms. SAWA and Ms. MIYAMA, who were allowed access to the trophy as winning members of the past World Cups, as they posed for a photograph with the trophy. The trophy was presented to the public at the Japan Football Museum on 25 February.
As part of the Trophy Tour, a wrapped bus travelled around Tokyo's tourist attractions on the 25th and 26th. In addition, Ms. SAWA and Ms. MIYAMA made a surprise appearance with the trophy at the 6th Tokyo FA President's Cup Girls' Mini Football Tournament held at AGF Field on Sunday 26 February, to show support to the girls in the U-12 age group.
With the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ set to begin on Thursday 20 July, the trophy will now tour the countries and regions that have qualified for the competition over the coming months.
TASHIMA Kohzo, JFA President
The Nadeshiko Japan have made great strides to become a team with a solid chance of lifting this trophy again. That is something that we hope the players, staff, and coaches can achieve. JFA will be organising a number of events from March onwards to promote Nadeshiko Japan and the FIFA Women's World Cup™. We look forward to seeing you there.
IKEDA Futoshi, Head Coach of Nadeshiko Japan
Having seen the trophy right in front of me, I am now extremely motivated to hoist this trophy as champions. I would like to visualise these players lifting the trophy as we prepare for the World Cup in July. With the support of everyone, we would like to make this a tournament that will further develop women's football and expand the football family.
UEKI Riko (Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza)
We were reminded of the significance of this trophy and the FIFA Women's World Cup™ through this event. Although winning the World Cup is not an easy goal to achieve, it has strengthened my desire to give my all to the team while overcoming every obstacle along the way.
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