Saturday, March 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


India need to take a leaf out of Japanese football
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, March 14
Japan is a mere speck in size, in comparison to India, but this tiny country has often taught the rest of the world that with proper planning, execution, determination and hard work, there is no goal which cannot to be attained. Japan’s football development is a saga of courage, determination and proper execution of its forward-looking plans. Japan has been chosen as the Model National Association by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and according to its secretary-general Dato Peter Velappan, every Asian country should adapt the Japanese model.

And Japan did not become a “model” just out of the blue. Secretary-general of the Japan Football Association Takeo Hirata said in New Delhi on Friday that a lot of planning, hardwork and enlightened policies were behind the emergence of Japan as a major soccer power. Japan and Korea stunned the rest of the world into disbelief when they successfully hosted the 2002 World Cup Soccer Championship. Japan is now a force to reckon with in soccer, and according to Takeo Hirata, foreign players and foreign coaches helped Japan create a solid foundation for the game.

“Playing matches against and together with foreign players considerably helped our players improve their skills,” opined Hirata, while making a detailed presentation about Japan football, on the second day of the ‘Conference of Indian Football’ in New Delhi on Friday.

He said Japan was quite clear that too much dependence on foreign players will do no good to Japanese football.

Therefore, the strategy was to use the foreign players and foreign coaches as a springboard to deepen and broadbase the roots of the game in the country.

“Our thrust was to promote domestic football to give a cutting edge to the game at the grass-root level. Our eventual aim is to be ranked among the top ten football playing nations in the world”, explained Hirata.

He said the football budget of Japan was a mere $ 20 million in 1992, which took a quantum jump to reach $ 80 million by 2002. The J League in Japan is very hotly contested, and as many as six players in the Brazilian World Cup winning team of 2002, had played in the Japanese League in 1996.

But now that Japan has grown into a soccer power, it has restricted the participation of foreign players to just three in the J League in a bid to promote local players.

Japan organises league for different age-groups and in various categories to keep the grass-root level alive and throbbing.

He said Japan was committed to provide every possible co-operation for the development of football in India. “India is a land of over 1000 million people, and has a great potential for the development of football,” he observed. He said Japan has now adopted a “Captain’s Mission” to face new challenges.


Amit Nehra stars for Shastri Club
Our Sports Reporter

New Delhi, March 14
A fine all-round performance by Amit Nehra, who claimed three wickets for 27 runs, and then slammed 39 runs off 29 balls with eight fours, helped Lal Bahadur Shastri Cricket Club defeat hosts Roshanara Club XI by seven wickets in a league match of the fourth Roshanara Cricket Tournament at the Roshanara Club ground.

Lal Bahadur Shastri Club won the toss and opted to field. The Roshanara Club batsmen failed to cope up with the hostile bowling of the Shastri Club bowlers as they were dismissed for 125 in 27.5 overs. Only two players, Mohit Suneja (42, 6x4, 71b) and Ravi Gupta (26, 5x4, 23b), could reach double figures. Amit Nehra, Gaurav Malhotra, Saurabh Jain and Kamaldeep wrecked Roshanara. Lal Bahadur Shastri Club knocked in 126 in 20 overs. Amit Nehra was adjudged the man of the match.

Scores: Roshanara Club: 125 in 27.5 overs
Lal Bahadur Shastri Club: 126 for 3 in 20 overs.

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