Hailing his Indian counterpart Anup Kumar’s leadership skills, Japan kabaddi team’s captain Masayuki Shimokawa on Tuesday said his team has a long way to go to match the skills of the Indians.
Placed at the third spot in Group B, Japan alongside Kenya (fifth) and Thailand (second) are looking for a desperate win to seal their semi-final berth at the ongoing Kabaddi World Cup.
Top-placed Iran have already booked their place for the semi-finals to be held at the TransStadia here.
Terming India’s basic kabaddi skills as “perfect”, Shimokawa said his team needs more exposure in the international arena to brush up their tactics on the mat.
“I have followed India’s game on television and they are just amazing with their defence as well as attack. India’s basic skills are the perfect if we are to draw any comparison to the western countries like US and Poland,” he told IANS in an interview.
“The Indians are on top. We are just one of the challengers in the tournament but despite that we will fight our best.”
With two wins and as many loses from their four games, Japan needs to beat Thailand by a massive margin to reach the semi-finals and Shimokawa is well prepared to take on the challenge.
He praised Anup for leading the hosts from the front in this year’s World Cup, and hopes to emulate the Indian captain in the next game.
“The one thing which I can take from Anup (Kumar) is he leads the side from the front and that boosts the morale of the whole team,” he said.
“The match against Thailand on Wednesday will be a challenge for our team and we have prepared well. We will give our 100 percent in the game and lets hope for an exciting match.”
On Wednesday, while Japan takes on Thailand in the thrilling Group B encounter, a resurgent Bangladesh will face a depleted Argentina in Group A to wrap up the league phase of the tournament.