Samurai Blue’s soccer stars meet Japanese students in Doha

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Members of Japan’s national soccer team pose with Japan School of Doha students in Qatar’s capital on Monday.

DOHA — A group of Japanese students who live in Qatar got to meet members of Japan’s national soccer team at their training base in Doha ahead of the 2022 World Cup, which kicks off in the Middle Eastern state on Sunday.

Twenty-nine students from the Japan School of Doha visited the training base with their parents on Monday and got to stand on a football pitch with the players, who signed autographs and posed for photos with their lucky guests.

The students presented a Japanese flag to team captain Maya Yoshida on which they had written messages of support.

Assembled in front of the players, the children shouted in unison, “We’ll cheer until we lose our voices, with passion in our hearts. Come on, Samurai Blue!”

“We’ll do our best to energize and encourage people [watching the games],” Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu said.

“It’s not just about winning. I want to see the players also enjoying the games,” an 11-year-old student said. “But, I also want them to win.”