• Kyodo

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Hamburg SV striker Naohiro Takahara on Thursday was given the nod by the German Bundesliga club to play for Japan as an “over-age” player at the Athens Olympics.

Hamburg team manager Bernd Wehmeyer accepted a request from the Japan Football Association after holding talks with JFA technical director Kozo Tashima on Wednesday evening.

Takahara, 25, who has just recovered from deep vein thrombosis, the same illness that kept him out of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, could be released in time to join the U-23 squad for the July 6-12 training camp on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa.

According to Wehmeyer, Takahara will then return to Hamburg on July 15 to undergo a medical check.

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