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Japan-Mekong U-15 Football Exchange Programme co-hosted by JFAC, JFA - Day 1 (7/1)

02 July 2015

Japan-Mekong U-15 Football Exchange Programme co-hosted by JFAC, JFA - Day 1 (7/1)

The Japan Football Association (JFA) has been co-hosting "the Japan-Mekong U-15 Football Exchange Programme" with the Japan Foundation Asia Center from Monday 29 June to Sunday 5 July, inviting men's national U-15 teams from the five Mekong region countries - Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos.

The total of eight teams from six countries including Japan's U-15s, Vissel Kobe U-15 and Sanfrecce Hiroshima F.C. Junior Youth had the first day of the three-day football exchange tournament on Wednesday 1 July at J-GREEN Sakai in Osaka.

The men's U-15 teams from the five countries in the Mekong region arrived at Kansai International Airport on Monday 29 June. On Tuesday 30 June, each team worked on training and had some moments where they were interviewed by media coming from their country. "The temperature in Japan is comfortable compared to our country," a player says. The Southeast Asian players seemed to be relaxed, but were in a tense mood at the same time ahead of the tournament on the following day.

The first day of the tournament started in a windy and rainy condition like a storm. The teams showed fierce contests in the tough condition where they struggled to control the ball. With the rain stopping in the afternoon, players who don't have a match and the public visiting the site were watching tournament's matches. After ending the first day, the Cambodia national team enjoyed a footbath to restore their energy.

While the purpose of this tournament is football exchange, it is also expected that the players from different countries can gain a meaningful experience through matches against countries who have different culture and playing styles.

Captains' Comments

Nyuyen Hong Son (Captain of U-15 Vietnam National Team)
It was hard to control the ball in the heavy rain. But we have the Vietnamese flag on our left chest, so we tried to play 100%. We have a mission as the Vietnam national team, and will give it our best in every match as our objective. I appreciate people who hold this great tournament. Whatever the result will be, we will learn skills in this tournament and go home with experiences.

Thet Paing Htwe (Captain of U-15 Myanmar National Team)
I'm happy to win the match, but we have more to improve. We will enhance our team performance and work hard under our coach. We came here with a determination to take back the winning trophy. We are always going out to win a match.

Kong Raphath (Captain of U-15 Cambodia National Team)
I'm disappointed we gave up lots of goals in the opener against the Japan national U-15 team. It's also disappointing to concede a goal in the afternoon match. But I'm satisfied we did our best for the both matches. Our Japanese head coach Iki is very good at coaching and we will try our best in the rest of the matches as well.

Son Sunbon (Captain of Vissel Kobe U-18)
It's a rare opportunity to play against teams from the Mekong region, so it was hard to keep up with their speed. It's turned out to be a very good experience for our team. We will play fair in the remaining matches as well.

Following the football competition, the teams from each football organisation will stay in Japan until 5 July with the coordination by the Japan Foundation Asia Center. During the period, the youngsters from the participating countries have opportunities to get to know, deepen and enjoy Japanese culture such as a Japanese calligraphy experience in Tokyo.


Japan-Mekong U-15 Football Exchange Programme Overview

The Japan Foundation Asia Center has arranged for each participating team, invited to Japan, to stay in Japan until 5 July after the football tournament. The young players will experience some Japanese culture, such as Japanese calligraphy in Tokyo, to deepen their understanding and to get to know the culture.
Date: Wed. 1 July to Fri. 3 July 2015
Location: J-GREEN SAKAI (145 Yawata-machi, Chikko, Sakai-ku, Sakai, Osaka)
More information

Participating Teams

Group AGroup B
U-15 Japan National Team U-15 Laos National Team
U-15 Vietnam National Team U-15 Myanmar National Team
Vissel Kobe U-15 Sanfrecce Hiroshima F.C. Junior Youth
U-15 Cambodia National Team U-15 Thailand National Team

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