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Kazu Down Under
Oops, I just realized I didn't have this entry tagged to show up. A little late, but here's some news of Kazu's possible move to Sydney.

Japanese football pioneer Kazuyoshi Miura may be packing his bags for Sydney, where he will become the first Guest Player in the recently revamped A-league. More importantly if he goes, he will be included in the roster when Sydney FC arrives in Japan for the Club World Championship (CWC) this December.

At the age of 15 "Kazu" decided the best place to learn his craft was in the football nation of Brazil. He ended up spending 8 years there, becoming fluent in the art of football as well as Portuguese. Since his first professional signing with Santos FC at the age of 17, he has continued to seek new challenges and destinations, making this sudden possible move to Australia seem like a natural next-step in his career.

The invitation for a temporary 3 month contract from Down Under is not entirely out of the blue. Sydney coach Pierre Littbarski has spent a good portion of his life in Japan. The former West Germany international was right there with Kazu, who was then at Tokyo Verdy, Zico, and a host of other stars when the Japanese professional league launched its first season twelve years ago. Before coming to Australia "Litti", as Japanese fans still fondly call him, was coaching at Yokohama FC -- the club Kazu just joined this year.

If this deal goes through, it will mean Miura will be the only Japanese player taking part in the CWC. J-league clubs Yokohama F Marinos and Jubilo Iwata failed to make it past the group stages of the Asian Champions League. As hosts of this glamorous first-time international club event, the East Asian island nation would clearly like to have one of their own participating.

There is no better candidate than the Shizuoka-born ex-international who played an integral role in the transition of football awareness in the country from the amateur to professional, from the domestic to international. Miura's peak may have been a decade ago, when he became the first Asian player to score a goal in the Italian Serie A and was awarded the AFC Asian Player of the Year. After Italy, his only other stint abroad was at Croatia's Dinamo Zagreb. But it is because he epitomizes a high standard of sportsmanship, professionalism and heart that people still want great things for him.

At 38, Miura remains one of the most charismatic personalities in the domestic league. His sudden transfer from Vissel Kobe to J2's Yokohama FC this summer attracted more attention from the media than any other this season, and his presence at the second division club has almost doubled the turnout. Fans want to see him score and witness his famous celebratory "Kazu Dance".

Yokohama, who are currently in 11th place in the table, are not against letting him go. They understand what an opportunity it would be for the veteran star. However, they would like to hang on to Miura as long as the possibility of promotion to the first division exists and want to hold off on decisions until mid-October. Eking out a third place finish could still offer promotion through play-offs.

With a career brimming with challenging firsts, Kazu Miura is more than used to finding himself in difficult situations. He has stated that he can't think of a single player who wouldn't want to grab such a chance to play in the CWC. Other than stating his honest wishes he has kept quiet on the matter. Local media have already jumped ahead and predict that November 6 may be his final game day in the J2.
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2005/11/09(水) 05:26:04 | | #[ Edit]
2005/10/05(水) 16:53:59 | | #[ Edit]
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