Naoki Yamada’s season is over and with it his chances of representing Japan at London 2012, says the Asahi Shimbun. The 21 year-old attacking midfielder for Urawa Red Diamonds, who has represented the Samurai Blues twice at Under-23 level, suffered an injury to the left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the J.League Yamazaki Nabisco Cup match with Vegalta Sendai. Yamada will undergo surgery on his knee at the end of March.
Motohiro Yamaguchi has been appointed as manager of Yokohama FC, reports the Sankei Shimbun. Yamaguchi replaces Yasuyuki Kishino, who led the J.League Division 2 side to 18th place last season, and took just one point in three matches in the new season before being dismissed for poor performance. Yokohama FC currently lie joint-bottom of the division alongside newly promoted Fagiano Okayama, and the former Yokohama Flügels and Yokohama FC midfielder, who was capped by Japan 58 times, takes over at a difficult time for the club.
And finally, the Yomiuri Shimbun provides further details of the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, which which starts in Japan on 19 August, with the final three weeks later on 8 September. The tournament has suffered from a number of problems, not the least of which was were it would be held. Originally awarded to Vietnam, the rights were given up by the Vietnam Football Federation with FIFA subsequently confirming the host nation would be Uzbekistan. The problems didn’t end there, with FIFA then cancelling the award and confirming there were technical and logistical issues in the central Asian country’s bid, and duly handed the rights to Japan, officially confirmed on 8 February 2012.
Qualification for the tournament itself is nearly complete, with one place on offer for the winners of the 2012 Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Women’s U-20 Championship in April, and two spots for champions and runners-up at the Confederation of African Nations (CAF) to be decided at the 2012 African Under-20 Women’s Championship in May.