Thursday , May 30 2024

Unity, self belief secured Japan the 2022 AFC Futsal Asian Cup triumph!

Head coach Kenichiro Kogure attributed unity and self belief as the keys to Japan lifting their fourth AFC Futsal Asian Cup title on Saturday, October 8.

Japan had a rough start to their Kuwait 2022 campaign, falling 2-1 to Saudi Arabia on Matchday One of the Group Stage, but the team’s unity and self belief saw the East Asians overcome all challenges to eventually dethrone Iran with a 3-2 comeback win at the Saad Al Abdullah Hall.

“The team lived as one during this whole period, which started on September 5, and it allowed us to spend time together, on and off the pitch. It gave us the energy to stick together as a family.

“During this past month, we had a lot of difficult moments, but we were able to keep talking about improving. The bond between us was strong like a family. The title is the fruit of this bond,” said Kogure.

Kogure, who twice won the championship as a player, said his experience of having played against Iran helped formulate Japan’s game plan.

“When we were preparing to fight against Iran, one of the things that helped me think of a strategy was my experience as a player,” said Kogure. “I have direct experience of how we had been able to win against Iran in the past, not many times, but one of the key factors was our defensive performance.

“Together with the team spirit and players’ sacrifice, we strived past a difficult second half. As a strategy, we talked about individual match-ups to mark some players specifically, but of course, these difficult matches don’t always go according to plan. In this match, together with (goalkeeper Guilherme) Kuromoto’s great performance, we were able to maintain our strategy.”

Kogure hoped the win against their perennial rivals would further inspire and boost the sport back home.

“I’m very happy to have been able to participate in this tournament as a player and a coach. But I’d like to repeat that this is not an individual effort, but a collective one from the futsal culture in Japan. Starting with the F.League, whose efforts led to this talent and power that enabled us to win the match today.”

“I am also the head coach of the U20 national team squad, and used to be the women’s national team head coach as well.

“I have the experience and understand the effort in every corner of Japan in regards to the coaches’ activities. I hope this match and victory gives hope and motivation to those people working in this line of work.”

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