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SAMURAI BLUE starts training at Abu Dhabi to reclaim Asian Cup Title – AFC Asia Cup UAE 2019 (1/5-2/1)

04 January 2019

SAMURAI BLUE starts training at Abu Dhabi to reclaim Asian Cup Title – AFC Asia Cup UAE 2019 (1/5-2/1)

On Thursday 3 January, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team), who are seeking to reclaim the Asian title at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, held their first training session in the evening at Abu Dhabi after arriving at UAE in the morning.

The team conducted a five-day training camp in Chiba and following their training match against Ryutsu Keizai University on 30 December, the players were temporarily dismissed for the new year holiday. With the team reuniting on Wednesday 2 January, Coach MORIYASU claimed that “The team has a fresh mindset entering the Asian Cup,” and continued by stating, “We will prepare ourselves as a challenger.” The players and staffs were seen relaxed as they left the airport in front of many media members and fans.

Following the long travel to Abu Dhabi, the team started off the training session by loosening their body. The players were seen taking a light jog, core trainings, and passing drills to check their conditions. The session lasted about an hour as the players worked up a sweat under a sunny climate that reached 30 degrees Celsius at the beginning of the session.

On this day, in the late evening, players who had league matches for their clubs arrived at the facility as team captain YOSHIDA Maya (Southampton FC), MUTO Yoshinori (Newcastle United), and NAKAJIMA Shoya (Portimonense S.C.) made their ways to join the team. With just five days remaining ahead of their first group stage match, the team will continue to heighten their conditions and go over the team tactics.

The AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 will open its action on Saturday 5 January, as the host national, UAE will face Bahrain. Japan’s first match against Turkmenistan will be held on Wednesday 9 January at 15:00 (20:00 Japan time) at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Tournament Information

Players' Comments

DF #16 TOMIYASU Takehiro (Sint-Truidense V.V./Belgium)
Although I am a little tired from the long travel, with my club team playing a match on 26 December, I have no problem in terms of my fitness. Compared to Japan, the climate is much warmer, so that’s something we must get used to through our training sessions. I will do my best to earn the spot on the pitch and gain as many experiences as possible. As much as it’s important to prepare ourselves physically, it’s also important to be prepared mentally. I hope to get myself mentally prepared so that I can enter the first match with a good amount of nervousness. To win the title, we must work well as a team, so we will strive to build a positive atmosphere ahead of the tournament.

MF #8 HARAGUCHI Genki (Hannover 96/Germany)
We are at a stage where we must polish up on the small details ahead of the tournament. We will communicate with each other even more in this remaining week. I believe that a team that can work on small details will prevail at the tournament.

FW #11 KITAGAWA Koya (Shimizu S-Pulse)
Before arriving here, I imagined that it would be much hotter, but it actually feels pretty cool and it is an ideal environment to play football. Personally, it is essential to heighten myself to the top condition ahead of the first match. The team must also communicate with each other to heighten the quality of the team strategy. It will be a tough competition for us, so all 23 payers must unite and work together.


SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) Squad, Schedule


Tournament Dates: Sat. 5 January - Fri. 1 February 2019

Group Stage:
Wed. 9 January Kick-off 20:00 (Japan Time)
vs Turkmenistan National Team

Sun. 13 January Kick-off 22:30 (Japan Time)
vs Oman National Team

Thu. 17 January Kick-off 22:30 (Japan Time)
vs Uzbekistan National Team

Broadcasting: Televised Live at TV Asahi Group
BS Broadcasting: Televised Live at NHKBS1

Tournament Information

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