• Kyodo News


National coach Takeshi Okada has called up midfielders Hiroyuki Taniguchi and Takashi Inui and defender Yosuke Ishibitsu to a Japan squad for the first time ahead of next month’s Asian Cup qualifier at home to Yemen.

The three uncapped players are on a list of 23 players announced Wednesday by the Japan Football Association for the Jan. 20 clash in Kumamoto, which does not include Celtic playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura or any other overseas-based players.

No players from the five remaining teams in the Emperor’s Cup were named in the squad, including Gamba Osaka midfielder Yasuhito Endo and Nagoya Grampus striker Keiji Tamada.

Okada wants to rest players for at least two weeks between their final games of the season and the start of the national training camp on Jan. 10 in Kagoshima.

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