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Okada announces 25-man squad

Kyodo News

Urawa Reds striker Naohiro Takahara and Yokohama F. Marinos defender Yuji Nakazawa were among 25 players named to the national squad Wednesday ahead of Japan’s first international friendlies under newly appointed coach Takeshi Okada, the Japan Football Association said. Of the 31 candidates competing for spots on the national team, six were left off the roster, including Oita Trinita goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa and midfielder Koki Mizuno, who is reportedly set to complete his transfer to Scottish Premier League champions Celtic from JEF United Chiba. Japan will play Chile on Saturday and face Bosnia and Herzegovina on Jan. 30 in warm-up matches ahead of their first qualifier for the 2010 World Cup against Thailand.