By James Agberebi: Japan U-23 coach Makoto Teguramori has charged his players not to lose focus ahead of their opening game against Nigeria at the football event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The Japanese side have been intensifying preparation towards the game against Nigeria since arriving Brazil.
According to jfa.jp, while addressing the players after one of their training sessions, Teguramori told the players to be in the best possible shape ahead of next week Thursday's clash.
“Let’s concentrate on getting in good condition both physically and mentally and remember why you are here," he said.
And Japan forward, Takumi Minamino, who plays for Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga, expressed delight for making the final squad, while pledging to make sure he gets the needed goals for his side against Nigeria and their other group B opponents.
"I’m proud of having been selected for the Japan's national team, and I’ll try my hardest to get a medal as a representative of Japan. After arriving in Brazil, I feel the Olympics are finally starting. Despite the heat during the daytime, the temperature surprisingly drops in the late afternoon. So I’d like to prepare well for the game.
"As I have been playing matches back in my club, I think I’m in good condition. I hope we can improve our combinations as a team in Brazil.
"Although I haven’t practiced with the three over-aged players yet, I’d like to learn many things from them to prepare for the game. As an attacker, I’ll focus on scoring and assisting goals. I’ll perform with all my power against excellent teams."
Meanwhile, Japan will take on hosts Brazil in a friendly match on Sunday.