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‘King Kazu’ chosen as JFA ambassador for World Cup

Kyodo

Former Japan striker Kazuyoshi Miura will be dispatched to Brazil as the Japan Football Association’s ambassador to the World Cup, the JFA said Thursday.

Miura, 47, is scheduled to depart for Brazil on June 12 and return to Japan on June 20.

“He is a player who symbolizes the strong link between Japan and Brazil. We are extremely grateful and think that it will be a joyful occasion to have him there,” said JFA president Kuniya Daini.

Miura will watch Japan’s first match against Cote d’Ivoire in Recife on June 14 and attend a special event together with Princess Hisako, widow of Prince Takamado and the JFA’s honorary president, on June 17. Miura, who is known by the nickname “King Kaz,” will not travel with the Japan team, nor will he visit their training camps.

The evergreen Miura, who plays for Yokohama FC in the J. League second division, made a name for himself when he traveled to Brazil as a 15-year-old in 1982 with aspirations of becoming a professional. He played for a number of clubs, including powerhouse Santos.

He returned to Japan in 1990 and joined Yomiuri FC, which later became Verdy Kawasaki (now Tokyo Verdy), a dominant force in the J. League’s inaugural season in 1993.

J2 will continue during the monthlong World Cup, but Miura has been rehabbing a left-groin injury and has been granted a leave of absence from his team.