• Kyodo

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Japan coach Zico has fired a broadside at FIFA for sloppy scheduling that has left key players with little time to recover from league action before the national team’s 2006 World Cup qualifier against Singapore on Wednesday.

News photoJapan’s Shinji Ono practices in Singapore in preparation for today’s World Cup qualifier against Singapore.

Three of Japan’s European-based stars — Serie A midfielders Hidetoshi Nakata and Shunsuke Nakamura and Hamburg SV striker Naohiro Takahara — arrived in Singapore on Tuesday with just 24 hours to prepare for the Asian zone Group 3 match.

“Some of the players have just flown in for the game and this is not the first time this has happened,” Zico said.

“FIFA has to realize the situation. They need to pay better attention to scheduling and talk about this problem with the players’ club sides.”

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