SAMURAI BLUE announces 23-man roster for the CONMEBOL Copa America Brazil 2019
25 May 2019
On Friday 24 May, Coach MORIYASU Hajime of the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) announced their 23-man roster for the CONMEBOL Copa America Brazil 2019, which will take place between Friday 14 June to Sunday 7 July 2019.
One day after the roster announcement for this June’s KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2019, members from last year’s FIFA World Cup, KAWASHIMA Eiji (RC Strasbourg) and OKAZAKI Shinji (Leicester City Football Club) were once again listed, while the young talents like KUBO Takefusa (F.C. Tokyo) and OSAKO Keisuke (Sanfrecce Hiroshima) continued to be named as well.
The list also contained 13 players making their first-time selection to the SAMURAI BLUE. MIYOSHI Koji (Yokohama F・Marinos) and MAEDA Daizen (Matsumoto Yamaga FC) were among the players who were named for the first time, and all 13 players are eligible to play for next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games. With his decision to include these players under 22 years old, Coach Moriyasu explained his thoughts on the selection, “As the head coach of both the Senior team and the Olympics team, I am categorising the players in a larger group. With the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP and Copa America scheduled ahead of us, I was thinking of the best way to heighten the overall level of the Japan National Team, and this selection reflected that thought process.”
Coach Moriyasu also mentioned that this selection will give his side the edge at the Tokyo Olympics, as he stated, “Are goal is to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. In order to achieve such goal, we must have players that are worthy of playing for the Senior team, or else, it would be awfully difficult to achieve our goal. At the Copa America, I want the players to fight as a member of the Senior team and give their best efforts to win through the tournament. Their development as a player should help the Senior team and ultimately help us achieve our goal at the Tokyo Olympics.”
When asked about the theme for the tournament, Coach Moriyasu replied, “Our theme in one word will be, development. However, I am not asking the players to travel to Brazil only to experience the Copa America. We will demand our team to win. Once the players are on the pitch, it is a battle between 11 players. The players must take the upper hand against the opponents and fight with responsibility. That is the message I will convey to our players while we prepare for this tournament.”
MORIYASU Hajime, Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
For the J. League clubs and university teams, I know this tournament takes place during the busy period of their season, but I am thankful for their understanding and support for allowing their players to join our team. I would also like to show my gratitude towards the club teams overseas for allowing their players to join our activity during the off season. I can only hope that these players will gain a wonderful experience at the Copa America and return as a better player that can inspire the other players at their affiliate club teams.
SEKIZUKA Takashi, JFA Technical Director
Ahead of the Toulon International Tournament and Copa America, I have sent out the requests to gain the permission to allow these players to join the national team. Although the clubs are not bound to send their players for these two tournaments held in June, the teams of J. League and universities showed great respect for our activities and allowed their players to join our team, despite them being in the middle of their season. Along with the ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup, we have four major tournaments scheduled ahead of us and we can only thank all the clubs for their support and understanding. While showing our gratitude towards the players’ affiliate teams, we will also give our full support to allow these national teams and players to develop through these tournaments. We hope to make each of these tournaments worthy of playing and help our teams reach a higher level through our activities.
CONMEBOL Copa America Brazil 2019
Tournament Dates: Fri. 14 June - Sun. 7 July 2019
Tue. 18 June 2019, 8:00 (Japan time)
vs Chile National Team
Fri. 21 June 2019, 8:00 (Japan time)
vs Uruguay National Team
Tue. 25 June 2019, 8:00 (Japan time)
vs Ecuador National Team
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