Striker Asano named to Japan Under-23 squad for friendly against Ghana

Kyodo

Sanfrecce Hiroshima striker Takuma Asano returned to the team as Japan Under-23 coach Makoto Teguramori on Friday named his squad for next Wednesday’s home friendly against Ghana’s senior national team in quake-hit Kyushu.

Versatile Dutch-based defender Sai van Wermeskerken and Kashiwa Reysol midfielder Junya Ito were also named to the 23-man squad for the warm-up for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics at Sagan Tosu’s Best Amenity Stadium.

Teguramori said he is pleased to be playing African opponents, with Ghana likely to provide the sort of test Japan can expect from opening first-round opponent Nigeria at the Rio Games.

In Brazil, Japan will Nigeria on Aug. 4 in Manaus, where it will play Colombia three days later. Teguramori’s side wraps up the first round against Sweden on Aug. 10 in Salvador.

“Ghana will give us what we can expect from Nigeria so they are suitable opponents,” said Teguramori. “We need to see how inventive we can be against and African team and hopefully we can respond.

“We will be playing their senior squad and it will be a tough game.”

The game will double as a charity match to support relief efforts following a series of earthquakes that rocked Kumamoto and its surrounding areas in the southwestern regions of Kyushu last month.

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