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Miyamoto, Ishikawa make the right decision

5 Sep 2005(Mon)

September 2 – It is encouraging to read that two Japanese players have rejected a move to Italian club Treviso in recent days.

On Saturday, Tsuneyasu Miyamoto turned them down, and decided to stay with Gamba Osaka.

Three days later, Naohiro Ishikawa did the same, and will remain with FC Tokyo.

Miyamoto has been interested in moving to Europe for three or four years now, but he did not feel the timing was right on this one.

He said he did not have much time to make up his mind, but, after thinking of his family and his immediate future, he decided to stay in Osaka.

I think Miyamoto has made the right choice.

The World Cup is not far away; he is Japan’s captain; he can be at the heart of all the preparations.

Why exchange all this certainty for a list of uncertainties?

The last thing he needs is to be a squad player with a struggling team in Serie A. He may not play regularly; he may lose confidence; he may become frustrated, and this could carry over into his personal life with his young family.

On top of that, of course, Gamba Osaka are in the running for the league championship and Nabisco Cup, and why not the Emperor’s Cup, too!

Tsune said he wants to win the league championship with his friends at Gamba – and wouldn’t that be a boost for Kansai football in general?

Tsune says he will wait for the next time, which may well be after the World Cup in Germany next summer. Like Ogasawara before him, the World Cup will be a shop window for all players to show their quality and their value, and the fact that Tsune is a fluent English speaker will undoubtedly help his cause.

As for Ishikawa?

Well, I would have understood it more if he had moved to Treviso. FC Tokyo are marking time at the moment (not going forwards, but going backwards slightly), and Ishikawa has only an outside chance of making it into Japan’s World Cup squad.

Personally, I would like to see him in the squad, as he offers genuine pace and danger.

But while there is a chance to catch Zico’s eye, Ishikawa should keep playing and keep hoping. If he’d gone to Treviso, he may have disappeared off the radar altogether.

Japan is not a bad place to be, and the grass is not always greener in Europe.


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