Japan Under-23 coach Makoto Teguramori vowed to bring a medal back from Brazil this summer as he recalled on Thursday his time as manager of Vegalta Sendai, a day before the fifth anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The 48-year-old, who led the U-23 side to this summer’s Olympics through the qualifying competition at the Asian U-23 Championship in January, was appointed as manager of Sendai, a city seriously affected by the quake, in 2008 season when it was in J2.
His team won the promotion in his second season and the team responded to the 2011 quake in spirited fashion, finishing fourth that season and second the following year.
“Every March I ask myself whether I’m (still) able to be a hope for the devastated area,” Teguramori said. “It’ll be the Olympics five years after the quake, and I hope to deliver a medal for it.”
Teguramori said he always fought “to be a ray of hope” for the region since 2011 and revealed he still watches the footage from the time to inspire himself.
“I’ll work trying not to forget the emotions that I felt at that time,” he said.