DUNDEE, SCOTLAND – Two-time World Cup goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima said Thursday he was delighted to have finally joined Dundee United and is convinced the Scottish Premier League club will beat the drop, despite tasting defeat in his debut against local rival Dundee on Saturday.
“It took longer than I expected to join the club (after a protracted struggle to obtain a work permit) but I am delighted to have joined this team,” Kawashima told a press conference.
Kawashima was thrown straight into Saturday’s local derby and his mistake gifted Dundee their equalizer in an eventual 2-1 defeat for United.
He atoned with some good saves, however, and won the backing of manager Mixu Paatelainen.
United prop up the Scottish league with just 10 points from 21 games, but Kawashima is unfazed.
“Things need to change little by little,” Kawashima said. “The players have ability and I believe we can stay in the top flight.”
Kawashima had been without a club since leaving Belgian side Standard Liege at the end of last season in search of a new team in Europe.
Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic cut Kawashima from the national squad for the World Cup Asian qualifiers in August, citing his failure to find a new club, and has not called him up since.