Gamba’s Fujiharu, Sanfrecce’s Shiotani named to Olympic squad

Gamba’s Fujiharu, Sanfrecce’s Shiotani named to Olympic squad

The Japan Football Association on Tuesday announced that Gamba Osaka defender Hiroki Fujiharu and Sanfrecce Hiroshima defender Tsukasa Shiotani will be named to Japan’s Rio 2016 Olympic squad as overage players.

The tournament in Brazil will be the first Olympic games for both players, who each have two senior international caps.

“This tournament calls for tough players,” Olympic coach Makoto Teguramori said in a statement. 

“And that’s what these two players bring; between Fujiharu’s movement up and down the side and Shiotani’s one-on-one strength, I believe both will help to strengthen both our defensive and offensive capabilities.

“They both absolutely have more experience than our U-23 players; they may not have earned regular spots on the Samurai Blue yet but both have incredible room for growth. 

“I think they will raise the level of our Olympic team and have an opportunity to improve themselves ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”

Japan’s Olympic team will face Sweden, Colombia and Nigeria in Group B of the men’s tournament, which begins play on August 4.