• Kyodo News


The Japan Football Association abandoned a plan to call up striker Yoshito Okubo for the Beijing Olympics as an overage player, as the provisional Under-23 squad was announced Monday ahead of a pre-Olympic training camp.

Fellow full international Yasuhito Endo, a Gamba Osaka midfielder, is the only overage player named for the 20-man squad that will be trimmed down to 18 players after the three-day camp beginning July 7 in Chiba Prefecture.

J. League club Vissel Kobe has refused a request from the JFA that Okubo join the Olympic squad, citing concerns about his right knee, which he had surgery on in February, and a growing list of injuries within the team.

The J. League will not have an Olympic break in August with league fixtures scheduled for every weekend during the Beijing Games.

“I picked these players to form the best possible squad at this stage while giving thought to injuries, domestic fixtures and other factors (regarding J. League clubs),” said Japan Under-23 coach Yasuharu Sorimachi.

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