Japan star Kensuke Nagai (right) will be playing in Gympie tonight.
Japan star Kensuke Nagai (right) will be playing in Gympie tonight.

International soccer for Gympie

A LITTLE taste of World Cup soccer will be in Gympie tonight as a Japanese national team comes to town to take on the Sunshine Coast Fire.

Striker Kensuke Nagai and star defender Kazuya Yamamura, who will be heading to South Africa for the World Cup later this year, will star for the Japanese under 21 National University Football Association team.

The match kicks off at 6.30pm on One Mile’s premier field and Football Gympie president Trevor Kirk is urging soccer fans to take the opportunity to see World Cup-standard players at work.

“It’s great for Gympie to be able to host a game like this,” Kirk said.

“There is a couple of guys coming who are going to play at the World Cup so that is something you shouldn’t miss.

“The fact the game is being played in Gympie shows how good our facilities are. I was speaking to a Japanese team official the other day and he said he was jealous of what we have here.”

The Japanese team will also consist of elite University league players who have been identified to play in the J-League (Japan’s national league) and players who are involved in the Olympic team.

It could be a tough night for the Fire, because the Japanese team flogged current State League premiers the Brisbane Strikers 8-0 on Monday night.

Unfortunately, former Japanese Marinos Youth player Yuta Gonai, who has joined the Fire squad from Yokohama, will be unable to run out against his fellow countrymen as he has had to fly back to Japan to attend his university graduation.

Having the Fire play in Gympie is also a great thing for local players, Kirk said.

“The Fury wanted to come to Gympie to build a relationship here,” Kirk said.

“At the end of this season they have agreed to have trials for anyone who wants to play for the Fire, which is a great opportunity.

“They will also play a State League match here on May 9 against Bundaberg Spirit.”

Gympie Times


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