Kubo urges Japan Under-23s to find voice in Rio qualifying

Kyodo

Communication within the squad will be crucial for Japan’s Under-23 side heading into the U-23 Asian Championship, Young Boys striker Yuya Kubo said Monday.

“The tougher the competition gets, the more important to work as one,” said the 22-year-old ahead of the tournament that is a qualifying event for this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Kubo, whose nature is to be quiet, regrets losing in the quarterfinals of the 2012 U-19 Asian Championship, when a lack of team cohesion cost Japan a trip to the U-20 World Cup.

“I’ve changed too, in being able to communicate,” he said.

Having joined Swiss outfit Young Boys in 2013 from Kyoto Sanga in the J. League second division, Kubo knows from experience that passes will not come your way if you are not recognized as a teammate and a sense of rapport can sway the fortune for any team.

“When you see eye to eye with each other, the reaction is different when you make mistakes. Even if you make one, they’ll give you another chance,” Kubo said.

Along with aiming for solidarity, Kubo, who has four goals in 13 league games for Young Boys this season, will look to find the back of the net with the likes of Salzburg’s Takumi Minamino in the tournament in Qatar, where they kick off against North Korea on Wednesday.

Japan will play Thailand on Saturday and Saudi Arabia the following Tuesday in the group stage and will look to book its ticket to Brazil by finishing in the top three in the competition.