Eight Japan players who indulged in a drinking binge and acted improperly during a training camp in Kashima last month were dropped Friday by coach Zico for the national team’s 2006 World Cup Asian zone Group 3 qualifier away to Singapore on March 31.
Yokohama F. Marinos striker Tatsuhiko Kubo, who rescued Japan in its opening qualifying match against Oman with a stoppage-time winner last month, and Olympic team hero Yoshito Okubo were among the eight players axed as coach Zico named his 23-man squad.
The other players dropped were influential midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara, goalkeeper Ryota Tsuzuki, defenders Nobuhisa Yamada and Teruyuki Moniwa and midfielders Takuya Yamada and Daisuke Oku.
“They have broken the rules and that means they have betrayed me,” Zico told a news conference.
It was reported in a weekly magazine earlier this month that the players allegedly sexually harassed and verbally abused female staff, threw sushi and caused trouble with other customers at a bar in Kashima on Feb. 9.
Meanwhile, Feyenoord midfielder Shinji Ono, who missed the 1-0 win over Oman through injury was called up alongside fellow European-based midfielders Hidetoshi Nakata (Bologna), Junichi Inamoto (Fulham) and Shunsuke Nakamura (Reggina).
Belgian-based striker Takayuki Suzuki, Hamburg SV’s Naohiro Takahara and Sampdoria’s Atsushi Yanagisawa were also named while Kashiwa Reysol marksman Keiji Tamada earned his first call-up.
“I’ve been watching (Tamada) for a while and he is a quality striker,” said Zico.
Japan will start its preparations for the qualifier with a training camp from March 23 and arrive in Singapore on March 28.
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