Women’s Asian Cup: ‘We had a fulfilling stay,’ Japan midfielders Saki and Yui laud Indian pitches and hospitality
Pune : Japan’s fantastic run at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 came to an end on Thursday after their loss to eight-time champions China in the penalty shootouts at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here. The defending champions showcased great determination and grit to remain in the contest till the end, but were unable to pick up the win.Before bowing out of the tournament, Japan midfielders Kumagai Saki and Narumiya Yui spoke on their experiences of being hosted by India, and express gratitude for a ‘fulfilling stay’ in the country.”Before arriving, I had no idea how our stay in India would be as it was my first time in this country. But most of the arrangements made for us were quite good. I really enjoyed my time in India,” Narumiya was quoted as saying the Local Organising Committee for WAC 2022.The AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 is being played across three venues the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai and the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune.
Kumagai praised the pitches in India, and said that she enjoyed the difference in cultures between the two nations.”The pitches are quite good, and I liked the hotels that we stayed in, especially in Pune. I was surprised at the difference of the culture from Japan, and it was an interesting experience for me. I spent fulfilling days in India,” she said.The two Japanese football stars also praised the rising level of competition in the tournament and said that there is a need to continue to invest in building a footballing environment for women in the Asian countries to continue its growth, the release said.”Women’s football competitiveness is growing rapidly because the environments around us such as facilities, human resources and analysis are being developed. I think that we should continue to invest in those things to progress our performance,” Kumagai said.
“We, in Asia, need to continue to make even more efforts to match the level of football in Europe and North America. I would like Asian women’s football to excite the people in Asia,” Narumiya added.On being asked about how the tournament can help in the overall growth of Asian Women’s football, Kumagai, who plays for the German club FC Bayern Munich, said: “There is no match that we won easily in this competition. However, I feel that there would be a big difference against some top teams in the world. Hence, we should continue improving ourselves. The goal of this tournament’s participants should not be to only become the champion of Asia, but also win in the world competition.”The two players, before bidding farewell, also gave a special message for the fans and for the girls and women aspiring to make a career in football or any other sport.”You should enjoy whatever you do. Do what you love and love what you do,” Kumagai said.”Loving what you do is the source of energy. I would like young people to enjoy what you do,” Narumiya added.