Frankfurt striker Yuki Ogimi has inherited the No. 10 shirt from retired icon Homare Sawa as manager Norio Sasaki announced the Nadeshiko Japan team for the women’s final Asian qualifiers for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Out of 20 members named on Thursday, 16 remain from the squad that finished runner-up in last summer’s World Cup in Canada. The top two teams at the six-team round-robin tournament in Osaka will earn a trip to Rio de Janeiro.
“There’ll be lots of supporters cheering us. It’ll be important to turn them into a positive pressure and give out everything we have,” Sasaki said.
Ogimi has played in Europe since 2010. Her 55 goals for Japan are second only to Sawa’s 83. Ogimi will be joined in attack by 22-year-old Kumi Yokoyama, one of the four not picked for Canada. She has two goals from five games since making her debut last year.
Japan will face Australia on Monday before squaring off against South Korea, China, Vietnam and finally North Korea on March 9.
GK: Miho Fukumoto (Okayama Yunogo Belle), Erina Yamane (JEF United Chiba), Ayaka Yamashita (NTV Beleza)
DF: Yukari Kinga, Aya Sameshima, Asuna Tanaka (all INAC Kobe Leonessa), Megumi Kamionobe (Albirex Niigata), Azusa Iwashimizu, Saori Ariyoshi (both NTV Beleza), Saki Kumagai (Olympique Lyonnais)
MF: Aya Miyama (Okayama), Nahomi Kawasumi, Emi Nakajima (both Kobe), Mizuho Sakaguchi (Beleza), Yuri Kawamura (Vegalta Sendai Ladies)FW: Shinobu Ono, Manami Takase (both Kobe), Yuki Ogimi (Frankfurt), Mana Iwabuchi (Bayern Munich), Kumi Yokoyama (Nagano Parceiro Ladies)