Japan Coach Takeshi Okada Names Young Squad For Yemen Test

It's not so much Samural Blue but Samurai who?
Japan coach Takeshi Okada has named a young squad for the team’s 2011 Asian Cup qualifier in Yemen on January 6.

Thirteen of the 19 received the summons for the first time as Okada looks ahead to the World Cup.

Experienced J-League and international stars such as Yasuhito Endo and Kengo Nakamura have been left out.

Young prospects such as Nagoya Grampus defender Maya Yoshida, Urawa Reds midfielder Naoki Yamada Yokohama F. Marinos striker Kazuma Watanabe and Sota Hirayama of FC Tokyo are in.

"This is a selection to collect three points and I have to rest the (regular) players having looked at the schedule ahead of the World Cup," Okada told reporters in Tokyo.

"Japan has to be able to pick teams like this capable of competing," he said.

"It's a chance for some of them to make a name for themselves."

Japan sit on top of their group and need just a point to clinch qualification for the 2011 Asian Cup.  

Japan squad:

Shusaku Nishikawa (Oita Trinita), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo), Naoya Kikuchi (Oita Trinita), Tomoaki Makino (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Kosuke Ota (Shimizu S-Pulse), Maya Yoshida (Nagoya Grampus), Taisuke Muramatsu (Shonan Bellmare), Gotoku Sakai (Albirex Niigata), Yosuke Kashiwagi (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Takashi Inui (Cerezo Osaka), Mu Kanazaki (Oita Trinita), Takuya Aoki (Omiya Ardija), Kazuya Yamamura (Ryutsu Keizai University), Naoki Yamada (Urawa Reds), Takuji Yonemoto (FC Tokyo), Sota Hirayama (FC Tokyo), Kazuma Watanabe (Yokohama F. Marinos), Kensuke Nagai (Fukuoka University), Yuya Osako (Kashima Antlers).