Contributed by: Ash Nugent Saturday, July 28 2007 @ 11:40 pm ACST
The countdown to the 2007 Narita Cup has officially begun with the Japan AFL this week beginning its promotion of the event. To be held in early October, it will coincide with the 20th anniversary of football in the country. Japan’s first taste of Australian football was a curtain-raiser to a Hawthorn and Essendon AFL match at Yokohama Stadium in 1987, and involved the renowned Waseda and Keio Universities. Since that initial game, the Japan AFL has been diligent in expanding football's profile throughout the country, with both a senior and university competition underway and representation (through the All-Japan Samurais) at the 2002 and 2005 International Cups. The Samurais have been one of the more active national sides, making an annual trip to Australia which will continue this year.
The Japan AFL[*1] is keen to attract several competitors to this year’s event, with five teams already committed; Tokyo Goannas, Eastern Hawks, University Samurais, Osaka Dingoes (All Japan) and Box Hill North (VAFA, Australia). The competition will take the shape of a round robin tournament, with teams expected to play three to four games each. Whilst now overshadowed by the Asian Championships, the Narita Cup has its own history, with the event stretching back to 2002. In the past, teams from Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea and Indonesia have all taken part, and the Japan AFL extends an invitation to all clubs, including those outside of Asia.
Hideki Miyasaka, President of the Japan AFL has stated that the competition is being used to develop Samurais players in time for next years International Cup, due to the minimal international competition outside of Australia. For those interested, details follow, along with costs and fees from the 2006 Cup, which are likely to be very similar to 2007. The competition’s scheduling in October may allow clubs to make the journey to Narita as an end of season trip and support international footy in the process.
|Cup Name||Japan AFL 20th Anniversary Narita Cup|
|Date||06 October 2007|
|Venue||Radisson Hotel Narita Airport Ground|
|Accommodation||Radisson Hotel Narita Airport[*2]|
|Team entry fee||¥ 20,000 (AUD 200)|
|Accommodation (per person, per night)||Triple ¥ 6,300 (AUD 63)|
|Twin Double ¥ 7,300 (AUD 73)|
|Single ¥ 9,900 (AUD 93)|
|Pool side party||Buffet/All you can drink ¥ 5,300 (AUD 53)|
|Australian teams||Troy Beard email@example.com|
|Asian teams||Shane Flannagan Shane.Flanagan@dfat.gov.au|
|Other teams||Hideki Miyasaka firstname.lastname@example.org|
The Samurais’ own trip to Australia, which will begin on 30 August and conclude on 9 September, will see rematches of last year's games against Box Hill North SR (Vic) and Howlong (NSW), and the much anticipated playoff against Melbourne Vietnam. Somewhat disappointingly, only the match against Howlong will be played on the weekend (no doubt due to limited time), with the other games scheduled on weekday evenings. Their fixture is below.
Samurais Tour to Australia Schedule - 2007:
|Sunday 2 September||Japan Samurais vs. Howlong FC (NSW)||Howlong|
|Tuesday 4 September||Japan Samurais vs. Elgar Park Dragons (Melbourne-Vietnam FC) (Vic)||Elgar Park, Box Hill|
|Thursday 6 September||Japan Samurais vs. Box Hill North Super Rules (Vic)||Elgar Park, Box Hill|
The squad will be coached by Shohei Yamamoto, and captained by Keio University's Hiroyuki Toyama. The Samurais will also attend the Collingwood vs. Adelaide match whilst in Melbourne.