With Japan getting ready to clash with Qatar in the final of AFC Asian Cup 2019, captain Maya Yoshida spoke against the embarrassing problems on and off the ground including penalties and suspensions.
Ahead of the Asian Cup final on Friday, the Southampton defender Yoshida blasted the organisers ‘stupidity’ and said, “I think the AFC should control stuff about penalties and suspensions. But I would mention that if (the tournament) is broadcast all over the world, you don’t want to see any stupid things, especially after the game.”
Yoshida’s comments came after the organisers confirmed that they had received a protest by hosts UAE against two Qatari players over their eligibility. This comes after Qatar players were pelted with plastic bottles and shoes after the semifinal clash.
Stressing on how incidents like these are defeating the purpose of representing Asia, he further said, “We are representing Asia under the hashtag #bringingasiatogether — so it’s important to represent Asia by playing good football and with fair play.”
With Japan knocking out title favourites Iran in the semifinal, Yoshida himself needing to be restrained by team mates after reacting furiously to Sardar Azmoun. “We met some of the Iran guys in the lift and they apologised for what happened,” said Yoshida. “I expect both teams to give 100% effort tomorrow, with fair play, to show the world how we play. That would be a big step, not only for Japan but Asian football.”
“It’s important to control ourselves mentally in Asia,” said Yoshida. “The referees are totally different in style to European or even Japanese referees. I think we’ve done well in terms of adjusting,” he added.