Japan football stars should go abroad: Takahara

14th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

14 December 2004, HAMBURG - Germany-based striker Naohiro Takahara believes more of Japan's top players need to move abroad for his country to be a major footballing power. However the SV Hamburg player said in an interview that Japan were capable of beating three-time world champions Germany in a friendly Thursday in Yokohama. "We have a home match after all and I think we can win. We are a unified team with wonderfully fast players, even if the match is a challenge against one of the best teams in the wo

14 December 2004

HAMBURG - Germany-based striker Naohiro Takahara believes more of Japan's top players need to move abroad for his country to be a major footballing power.

However the SV Hamburg player said in an interview that Japan were capable of beating three-time world champions Germany in a friendly Thursday in Yokohama.

"We have a home match after all and I think we can win. We are a unified team with wonderfully fast players, even if the match is a challenge against one of the best teams in the world," he told Hamburg's Abendblatt daily published on Tuesday.

Asked what the 2002 World Cup co-hosts were still lacking, the 25-year striker said: "To be able to play at the top even more players have to go abroad."

Takahara is one of only three foreign-based players in the squad for the match against Germany, alongside goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi of Danish side Nordsjaelland and midfielder Junichi Inamoto of West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League.

Takahara, who has been playing in the Bundesliga since 2002, said he was looking forward to the match against the Germans.

"It is important for me to appear live before the Japanese public. They know me only from the television," he said.

"For the Japanese team it is an important match looking ahead to the second round of the World Cup qualification."

Takahara said he had a good relationship with Japan's Brazilian coach Zico but he was "just a normal player" in the team, although the spotlight was on him against Germany.

TV Asahi, the Japanese broadcaster showing the match, had been reporting for months on him and the game, he said.

Takahara said he would like to continue playing for Hamburg after establishing a place this season in the first team. There have been reports the club would like to extend his contract.

"I keep hearing of this option. I myself have not undertaken anything concrete but it would be a good thing. I would really like to continue playing for HSV," he said.

The striker, who is still taking German lessons twice a week and says he can now "understand quite a bit but not everything", believes he is now being judged in Germany on ability rather than as a player bought to help the club expand in the Japanese market.

"Of course I want to be judged as a player but all Japanese players abroad are seen as magnets to attract sponsors, especially when things are not going so well," he said.

"That's not something you like but I have now got used to it." 

DPA

Subject: German news 

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