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‘National team has grown a lot’

The NMI U20 Men’s National Soccer Team that is competing in the Asian Football Confederation U20 Asian Cup Qualifiers in Amman, Jordan has lost two games, but coach Michiteru Mita said the team “has grown a lot by making use of the experience from past competitions.”

Their first game was against Turkmenistan, which they lost, 0-7, and their second game was against Syria, which they lost 0-10.

With that, Mita said “of course the results were not desired because we had been training very hard and also we always try to win every game and always want to make our islands community proud.”

But despite the losses, the team has “got very good experience playing with high level football in the best stage…” said Mita on a positive note.

“Compared with the last U19 AFC tournament in 2019, I feel the national team’s development on and off the pitch. For example [the] technical side, for sure we are improving in terms of defending with discipline, tactics understanding, and our collective play. However, because of the level of competition, boys are required to think a second faster…” he said.

He added that if “play accuracy” or “simple details” were neglected in a normal game play, “it does not become a mistake, but at this level it leads to a big mistake.”

“In addition, in a very tough environment where we have to fight against various factors such as extremely dry weather, time difference, and high intensity matches from long travels, players and staff always strive to do their best. We are trying to do it. After two games, the players are still showing their desire to improve and play a good game,” he said about the games.

The staff “continue to analyze the games, maintain the condition of the players and manage their health, and provide maximum support so that the players can perform at their best… We continue [to] work hard for [the] last two games. I would like to ask the soccer community to continue to support the team. Thank you,” said Mita in his last message.

The team flew out last Sept. 7 for a two-day flight to Jordan. The qualifier began last Sept. 10 and will end on Sept. 18.

The team will have two more matches to go, one against home team Jordan and a final one against Chinese-Taipei.

The team consists of 23 players, namely Leo Takahashi, Reginald Aljo Pascual, Akira Kadokura, Jerald Araquel Aquino, Brian Mallari Lubao, Markus Joaquin Attao Toves, Taka Hoimoto Borja, Anthony John Nicolas Bergancia, Ruben Antonio Cabrera Guerrero, Anthony Jampadai Austria, Ariel Jacobus Narvaez Jr., Brandon Tyler Limes Tenorio, Leland Isaiah Camacho Deleon Guerrero, Cody Soriano Shimizu, Jonne Alvey Navarro, Daniell Mar Pablo, Merrick Vicente Attao Toves, Vicente Jose Babauta Reyes, Jason Senobio Quimzon, Richard Ramon Steele, Rintaro Miyawaki, Kohtaro Sangel Goto, and Dev Ashok Bachani.

Mita and the players are joined by Mae Angelie Ito, team manager; Chi Ming Tang, assistant coach; Jireh Kuartei Yobech, technical analyst; Hazel Leoncio Mabasa, team doctor; Christopher Dela Rosa Aninzo, assistant manager; and Davy Joshua Laxa, kit manager.

There are 10 groups in the qualifiers and the top finisher in each group and five best runners-up will advance to the AFC Asian Cup to be hosted by Uzbekistan in March 2023.

Published by Saipan Tribune - Sep 16 2022


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