Monday, 22 May 2017

Kamo Japan


 

Japan's National Team: 1995-97

Shu Kamo took over the national team at the end of 1994, shortly after Falcao had been sent packing amid acrimony and disorder. The job of putting the team back together and dispelling the bad feelings that lingered both on and off the pitch would be his most important challenge, and one that would continue to bubble just beneath the surface until the end of his stint as head coach. His first, and most important contribution to the Japanese national team was to get the players thinking and playing as a team.

Okada's ability to massage egos and create a sense of friendly camaraderie in the locker room was essential in dispelling the acrimony that had developed during Falcao's reign, both on and off the field. Almost immediately, the results became apparent in terms of performance, as Japan managed a number of surprising results including draws against teams like Scotland, Uruguay and Sweden.

Like Ooft before him, Kamo benefited from the low expectations of most fans and league officials, as well as a general improvement in the quality of players in the domestic league. For the first time ever, the Japanese coach had a broader pool of potential national team members from whom to choose. Selecting the national team members had actually become a difficult job, whereas in the past, the same players were usually tapped for every match. In the end, though, this factor would come back to haunt both Kamo and his successor, Takeshi Okada

A number of key players emerged for the Japanese national team during Kamo's reign. Yutaka Akita, a big and burly stopper who emerged as Japan's premier stopper, both for the national team and at Kashima Antlers, took over from the aging Tetsuji Hashiratani alongside "Mr. Marino" Masami Iihara. Akita and Iihara complemented each other well, since Akita was very strong in the air and Iihara was good at breaking up an opponent's drive on goal with a well-timed tackle. 

 

Japan also developed a style of play that would characterise the team until the end of World Cup 1998, relying heavily two of the most mobile side backs around. Naoki Soma and Akira Narahashi were both tireless runners who could go from end line to end line for the full 90 minutes. While they were good defenders in their own right, their most important value to the team lay in their ability to overlap on the wing and create a scoring opportunity with a pinpoint cross.

  

As Ruy Ramos began to show his age, youngsters like Tsuyoshi Kitazawa, Motohiro Yamaguchi, Hiroaki Morishima and stepped in to create fluidity at midfield. Whereas the Japan teams of old had relied mainly on solid defenders and an occasional counterattack, the Japanese style from the mid-1990s increasingly relied on coordination and pressure at midfield as the central theme of play.

Japan Nat'l Team Results: 1995-97

Date Score Opponent Goals by . . .
94.12.1. (Kamo appointed)
95.1.6 (0-3) Nigeria  
95.1.8 (1-5) Argentina (Kazu)
95.2.15 (1-2) Australia (Hasegawa)
95.2.19 (3-0) Hong Kong (Kurosaki 2, Hashiratani)
95.2.21 (1-1) S.Korea (Kurosaki)
95.2.23 (2-1) China (Fujita, Kurosaki)
95.2.26 (2-2) S.Korea (Fukuda, Yamaguchi)
95.5.21 (0-0) Scotland  
95.5.28 (3-0) Ecuador (Nakayama, Kazu2)
95.6.3 (1-2) England (Ihara)
95.6.6 (0-3) Brazil  
95.6.9 (2-2) Sweden (Fujita, Kurosaki)
95.8.6 (3-0) Costa Rica (Nanami, Kitazawa, Fukuda)
95.8.9 (1-5) Brazil (Fukuda)
95.9.20 (1-2) Paraguay (Kazu)
95.10.24 (2-1) Saudi Arabia (Nanami, Kazu)
95.10.28 (2-1) Saudi Arabia (Kazu, Akita)
96.2.10 (4-1) Australia (Yamaguchi, Takagi 2, Moriyasu)
96.2.14 (0-3) Australia  
96.2.19 (5-0) Poland (Yamaguchi, Takagi 2, Omura, Kazu)
96.2.22 (1-1) Sweden (Omura)
96.5.26 (1-0) Yugoslavia (Kazu)
96.5.29 (3-2) Mexico (Morishima, Kazu, Soma)
96.8.25 (5-3) Uruguay (Maezono, Kazu 2, Takagi, Okano)
96.9.11 (1-0) Uzbekistan (Morishima)
96.10.13 (1-0) Tunisia (Maezono)
96.12.06 (2-1) Syria (own goal, Takagi)
96.12.09 (4-0) Uzbekistan (Nanami, Kazu, Maezono2)
96.12.12 (1-0) China (Soma)
96.12.15 (0-2) Kuwait  
97.02.09 (1-1) Thailand (Jo)
97.02.11 (1-1) Romania (Kazu)
97.02.13 (0-1) Sweden  
97.02.16 (2-0) Romania (Kurosaki, Okano)
97.03.1 (1-3) Thailand (Kazu)
97.03.23 (1-0) Oman (Omura)
97.03.25 (10-0) Macao (Takagi3, Soma, Kazu2, Nanami, Morishima3)
97.03.27 (6-0) Nepal (Jo, Takagi3, Omura, Honda)
97.05.21 (1-1) S.Korea (Kazu)
97.06.08 (4-3) Croatia (Hirano, Kazu2, Morishima)
97.06.15 (1-0) Turkey (Morishima)
97.06.22 (10-0) Macao (Nakata2, Nishizawa, Kazu6, Nanami)
97.06.25 (3-0) Nepal (Nishizawa, Kazu2)
97.06.28 (1-1) Oman (Nakata)
97.08.13 (0-3) Brazil  
97.09.07 (6-3) Uzbekistan (Kazu 4, Nakata, Jo)
97.09.19 (0-0) UAE  
97.09.28 (1-2) S.Korea (Yamaguchi)
97.10.04 (1-1) Kazakhstan (Akita)
97.10.04 Kamo fired.
 

While Kazu remained Japan's top scoring threat in the front line, players like Takuya Takagi and Masashi Nakayama also began to make their mark. Though Nakayama would bear the stigma throughout his career of having a poor touch of the ball, he was a consummate finisher, deadly in the air, and with the hint of cocky arrogance that distinguishes all great scorers. In addition, a youngster who was setting the J.League on fire at JEF United -- Shoji Jo -- appeared as an understudy to the two veterans. Kamo Japan seemed to have all of the elements needed to finally get to the top of the heap in Asia, and win a ticket to the World Cup.

However, Kamo's very strengths proved to be his downfall. When he arrived in 1995, his easygoing nature and desire to avoid conflict was useful. He did a good job of massaging egos and getting players to work together on the field, but he never pushed his own personality or developed a commanding presence of his own. Eventually, this lenient style of leadership was tested. During the qualifiers for the 1998 World Cup, Japan had a few bad matches, and seemed to stumble. Rather than pulling together as a team and fight to overcome the adversity, the national team fragmented into bickering cliques, each of which blamed the others for the team's poor performance. As the team moved into the second round of qualifying, their performance began to get worse and worse. Draws to the UAE and Kazakhstan, and a loss to South Korea put Japan on the brink of elimination. In panic, the JFA searched for an acceptable scapegoat, firing Kamo and replacing him with his assistant, Takeshi Okada.

Japan National Team Members Under Kamo

Name Position Team Height 1995
Caps/Goals
1996
Caps/Goals
1997
Caps/Goals
Shigetatsu MATSUNAGA GK Yokohama Marinos 180 6/0 - -
Kazuya MAEKAWA GK Sanfrecce Hiroshima 188 5/0 5/0 -
Nobuyuki KOJIMA GK Bellmare Hiratsuka 187 3/0 1/0 1/0
Kenichi SHIMOKAWA GK JEF united Ichihara 187 1/0 7/0 1/0
Shinkichi KIKUCHI GK Verdy Kawasaki 181 2/0 0 -
Yoshikatsu KAWAGUCHI GK Yokohama Marinos 181 - 0 17/0
Seigo NARAZAKI GK Yokohama Flugels 185 - 0 0
Masami IHARA DF Yokohama Marinos 182 15/1 13/0 18/0
Testuji HASHIRATANI MF/DF Verdy Kawasaki 181 15/0 - -
Yohihiro NATSUKA DF Bellmare Hiratsuka 182 2/0 - -
Norio OMURA DF Yokohama Marinos 180 4/0 12/2 12/1
Kazuaki TASAKA MF/DF Bellmare Hiratsuka 173 4/0 - -
Kentaro HAYASHI DF Verdy Kawasaki 182 2/0 - -
Yutaka AKITA DF Kashima Antlers 179 2/1 2/0 12/1
Tsuyoshi OIWA DF Nagoya Grampus 180 - 0 -
Hidetoshi SAITO DF Shimizu S-Pulse 180 - 2/0 7/0
Hideto SUZUKI DF Jubilo Iwata 180 - - 1/0
Takeshi WATANABE DF Kashiwa Reysol 181 - - 1/0
Satoshi TSUNAMI DF Verdy Kawasaki 173 3/0 - -
Tadashi NAKAMURA DF Verdy Kawasaki 175 3/0 4/0 9/0
Naoki SOMA DF Kashima Antlers 175 9/0 13/2 17/1
Katsuo KANDA DF Cerezo Osaka 182 1/0 - -
Masaharu SUZUKI DF Yokohama Marinos 168 1/0 1/0 -
Toshihiro HATTORI DF Jubilo Iwata 177 - 1/0 1/0
Ryuji MICHIKI DF Sunfrecce Hiroshima 178 - 1/0 4/0
Takumi HORIIKE DF Shimizu S-Pulse 173 2/0 - -
Hiroshige YANAGIMOTO DF Sanfrecce Hiroshima 174 12/0 13/0 6/0
Akira NARAHASHI DF Kashima Antlers 170 9/0 - 8/0
Kentaro SAWADA DF Kashiwa Reysol 170 3/0 1/0 -
Eisuke NARAHASHI DF JEF United Ichihara 174 - - 3/0
Motohiro YAMAGUCHI MF Yokohama Flugels 177 14/1 13/2 18/1
Hajime MORIYASU MF Sanfrecce Hiroshima 173 7/0 3/1 -
Yasuto HONDA MF Kashima Antlers 166 2/0 13/0 15/1
Masaki TSUCHIHASHI MF URAWA Reds 175 - 1/0 -
Takahiro SHIMOTAIRA MF Kashiwa Reysol 174 - - 0
Shigeyoshi Mochizuki MF Nagoya Grampus 175 - - 2/0
Teruyoshi ITO MF Shimizu S-Pulse 168 - - 1/0
Ruy RAMOS MF Verdy Kawasaki 181 3/0 - -
Tsuyoshi KITAZAWA MF Verdy Kawasaki 170 13/1 5/0 8/0
Hiromitsu ISOGAI MF Gamba Osaka 177 2/0 - -
Fumitake MIURA MF Yokohama Marinos 174 0 - -
Toshiya FUJITA MF Jubilo Iwata 173 8/2 - 1/0
Masakiyo MAEZONO MF Yokohama Flugels 170 2/0 7/3 3/0
Hiroaki MORISHIMA MF Cerezo Osaka 168 9/0 11/2 13/5
Hiroshi NANAMI MF Jubilo Iwata 176 2/2 13/1 16/2
Naoki SAKAI MF Kashiwa Reysol 175 - 1/0 -
Hidetoshi NAKATA MF Bellmare Hiratsuka 175 - - 10/4
Takashi HIRANO MF Nagoya Grampus 178 - - 3/1
Masahiro FUKUDA MF/FW Urawa Reds 176 15/3 - -
Kazuyoshi MIURA FW Verdy Kawasaki 175 12/6 12/6 17/17
Toshihiro YAMAGUCHI FW Gamba Osaka 176 2/0 - -
Kenta HASEGAWA FW Shimizu S-Pules 177 3/1 - -
Yoshiyuki HASEGAWA FW Kashima Antlers 179 4/0 2/0 -
Hisashi KUROSAKI FW Kashima Antlers 185 9/3 2/0 2/1
Masashi NAKAYAMA FW Jubilo Iwata 178 4/1 - -
Koji NOGUCHI FW Bellmare Hiratsuka 177 1/0 - -
Takuya TAKAGI FW Sanfrecce Hiroshima 188 - 10/7 5/6
Masayuki OKANO FW Urawa Reds 175 3/0 10/1 5/1
Shoji JO FW JEF United Ichihara 178 1/0 4/0 10/3
Akinori NISHIZAWA FW Cerezo Osaka 180 - - 5/2
Yasuyuki MORIYAMA FW Nagoya Grmpus 171 - - 1/0
Wagner LOPES FW Bellmare Hiratsuka 182 - - 2/0

"-" Denotes players that were not named to the team in this year.
"0" Indicates that the player was named to the team in this year,but did not appear in any international A matches.