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Japan coach Moriyama underlines ambitions for FIFA U17 World Cup, wishes India success

SENIOR ANALYST
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277   //    05 Oct 2017, 08:19 IST

MSV Duisburg v U20 Japan - Friendly Match
Takefusa Kubo has been singled out for special praise

Japan are among the dark horses at the FIFA U17 World Cup 2017 and the Samurai Blues have set up base in Guwahati for the group stage. The Asian powerhouses are clubbed along with France, Honduras and New Caledonia in the group stage but will be confident of progressing further given their pedigree and experience of big tournaments.

After their practice session today, we got a chance to catch up with Japan U17 head coach Moriyama Yoshiro.

The coach was accompanied by the Media Officer and Translator, Tanekura Satomi. Here are the excerpts:

Q. What do you feel about the weather conditions in India would it have an effect on your game?

A. So in Japan, the summer season is just over and as you know summer’s in Japan are quite hot so I think we can adapt to it, and also after the sun is down it is a bit cooler here so we will have no problems regarding the weather conditions.

Q. What do you think about your opponents in the group stage?

A. At this point we haven't given any thought to our opponents and we are focusing on our game, so we don't know what is going to happen till the game is played but we want to make sure that we get the required points, at least 1 or hopefully 3. Our main focus right now is on the first match and we are preparing accordingly for the match against Honduras.

Q. Are you satisfied with the infrastructure and facilities in India?

A. Perfect. The pitch is OK, we have a good police escort and the hotel accommodation and the food are also very nice, “So we want to be here in India for as long as possible”.

Q. Have you had a chance to visit the Main Stadium yet?

A. No, not yet.

Q. What is your assessment of France, Honduras and New Caledonia? 

A. So, to be honest we haven't collected a lot of information about France and New Caledonia as we are facing Honduras in our first game it is our main target at the moment is to get past the Honduras game with 3 points. We will have a chance to see France and New Caledonia play on the first match day that would give us an idea about both the teams. France, as you know, is a European powerhouse and we don't know how the situation would be. We would love to get the ticket for the knockout phase before we play the third match, that is our aim. In football anything can happen, so we want to prepare for every game well so that we make our chances of winning the game even higher. 

Q. Which are the main players in this Japan squad to watch out for? Well, I know coaches don't like singling out players but still any names?

A. (Laughs) Well, to name some, Kubo Takefusa (was part of the famous La Masia academy of Barcelona) and Kida Hinata are two players who have played in the Japanese Cup competition in the club level so they are ones to watch out for but there are others like Shimpei (captain) and Miyashiro.

Q. What is your aim regarding the FIFA U17 World Cup?

A. (Smiles) As I have said before, we want to stay in India for as long as possible which means we do want to win the tournament, but at this moment the whole team's focus is on the first game and then to reach the knockout stages before we play the last group game, and then take it one game at a time.

Q. What is your assessment of the Indian U-17 team, the first Indian team to play in a World Cup?

A. Well, we haven't played against India, but I know for a fact that they were based and trained for long periods in Europe, are coached by a Portuguese coach and will be playing at home in front of home fans that will be a big advantage having the home support. Hopefully, being an Asian team I wish India do well in the tournament. 

Q. What do you feel about the city Guwahati?

A. I feel the attention and a towards the world cup is high and have heard that there is going to be a big crowd during the match days so hopefully, we can put up a good performance for the crowd here.

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