• Kyodo

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Japan’s Rio Olympic-bound Under-23s will play against Ghana’s senior national team in an international charity match to support relief efforts following the series of earthquakes that have rocked Kumamoto and its surrounding areas in the southwestern Kyushu region, the Japan Football Association said Wednesday.

The match will be held on May 11 at Best Amenity Stadium, the home of Kyushu-based J. League first-division club Sagan Tosu. All profits, minus necessary costs such as invitation fees, will go into a fund to rebuild facilities damaged by the quakes that have left 48 people dead since the first one struck on Thursday.

Funds will also be raised with donations at a May 9-10 training camp.

Japan Football Association President Kozo Tashima, who hails from Kumamoto Prefecture, said, “We want to offer support through soccer. This is the first step.”

Japan U-23 coach Makoto Teguramori was in charge of Vegalta Sendai when the March 11 quake and tsunami in 2011 devastated the country’s northeastern coastline, and triggered a meltdown at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

“The people who helped Tohoku are this time asking for help,” said Teguramori.

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