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Induction Ceremony held for the 19th selection of Japan Football Hall of Fame inductees

13 September 2023

Induction Ceremony held for the 19th selection of Japan Football Hall of Fame inductees

On Sunday, 10 September, the anniversary of the founding of Japan Football Association (JFA), the Japan Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was held at Toyota Tokyo Building, where the 19th selection of Japan Football Hall of Fame inductees, Mr. OSAWA Hideo, Mr. DAINI Kuniya, Mr. Sergio ECHIGO, Mr. TAKAHASHI Yoichi, and the Nadeshiko Japan (Japan Women's National Team), who won the FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011™, were presented with commemorative plaques.

In his opening remarks, Mr. OKADA Takeshi, JFA Vice President, stated, “I am truly pleased that so many people who have supported Japanese football over the years are being recognised in this selection.”

Following the remarks from Honorary Patron of JFA, Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado, a video presentation of the inductees' accomplishments was shown. Vice President Okada then presented the award plaques, as Mr. Osawa, Mr. Daini, Mr. Echigo, Mr. Takahashi, and the Nadeshiko Japan took turns receiving them and expressing their happiness and gratitude.

From the Nadeshiko Japan, in addition to Mr. SASAKI Norio, then head coach and now Chairman of JFA Women's Committee, Ms. YAMAGO Nozomi, Ms. FUKUMOTO Miho, Ms. KAIHORI Ayumi, Ms. IWASHIMIZU Azusa, Ms. KINGA Yukari, Ms. SAWA Homare, and Ms. MARUYAMA Karina shared the podium to receive the plaque. Speaking about the team at the time, Ms. Sawa said, “We had so many different characters, but everyone gave their all for the team. I trusted my teammates with all my heart and believed that this team could definitely win the title.” Recalling the decisive goal she scored against Germany in the quarterfinals, Ms. Maruyama said, “As I was running, a pass from Sawa-san came in front of me and when I looked up, I saw a path leading to the goal, which I followed to score that goal.” Chairman Sasaki also expressed his gratitude to the team, saying, “The players really enjoyed playing football together and they have achieved such great success through their unity. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this team.”

The ceremony, which was held in a warm and congratulatory atmosphere throughout, ended with the inductees and other authorities posing for a photograph with Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado and Vice President Okada.


Mr. OSAWA Hideo
It has been 75 years since I was first introduced to football. As I got to know many different coaches, I started to reflect on what it takes to be a good coach and what my goals were, and I decided that coaching football was what I wanted to do. I have made the leap from being involved in youth football to university football, and I have spent my time with a desire to develop players in a team that I have built from scratch. Today has been one of the most emotional days of my life.

Mr. DAINI Kuniya
I still remember the struggles we went through to qualify for Japan's first FIFA World Cup™ in the FIFA World Cup France ‘98™ qualifiers. I was thrilled when I saw OKANO (Masayuki) score the goal in Johor Bahru. The heartbreaking images of the Great East Japan earthquake served as motivation and inspiration for Nadeshiko Japan to win the FIFA Women's World Cup™. Japanese football has become stronger, and the standard of play has improved dramatically. I believe Japan can become even stronger if every player continues to strive for higher standards.

Mr. Sergio ECHIGO
In Brazil, football is played by “everybody, anytime, anywhere,” whereas when I first came to Japan it was more like “somebody, somewhere, sometime.” In the absence of events to promote football, JFA launched a project to popularise the sport. I am happy to have contributed to this cause as an instructor and to have been recognised for it. I have never been happier in my 51 years in Japan, and I was able to show my filial piety by receiving this honour in my parents' homeland.

It has always been my wish for Japanese football to be where it is today, and I am delighted that it has developed beyond my expectations. When “Captain Tsubasa” first started serialising, people said it would be difficult for Japan to even qualify for the World Cup, but now the team has become strong enough to contend for the world title. (OZORA) Tsubasa, the main character in the manga, is now competing in the Olympics. I would love to see the SAMURAI BLUE win the World Cup in real life before Tsubasa does.

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