TOKYO - Jubilo Iwata defender Yuichi Komano will lead the all-domestic Japanese team at the East Asian Cup later this month in South Korea, national coach Alberto Zaccheroni said Monday.
"Komano is the only player who can play a role as the captain, considering how much he contributed to the national team and how he played in the past," Zaccheroni told reporters.
The Italian said Europe-based players such as CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United were excluded from the squad to give new players a chance.
He named seven of these - Sanfrecce Hiroshima's Kazuhiko Chiba and Yojiro Takahagi, Cerezo Osaka's Hotaru Yamaguchi, Takahiro Ogihara and Yoichiro KakitHakahiro Ogihara ani, Sagan Tosu's Yohei Toyoda and Manabu Saito of Yokohama Marinos.
"We cleared our first goal to qualify for the World Cup," said Zaccheroni. "We have some 10 games in the following one year, including three games in the East Asian Cup, to prepare for the World Cup.
"I hope new players and those who didn't have a chance (before) will take their chances and become the regular starting players."
In the East Asian Cup from July 20-28, Japan will play South Korea, Australia and China in the men's competition, while Japan, South Korea, China and North Korea will compete in the women's tournament.
Squad: Goalkeepers: Takuto Hayashi (Vegalta Sendai), Shusaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo)
Defenders: Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Yuzo Kurihara (Yokohama Marinos), Kazuhiko Chiba (Hiroshima), Ryota Moriwaki (Urawa Red Diamonds), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa), Masato Morishige (Tokyo), Daisuke Suzuki (Kashiwa Reysol)
Midfielders: Toshihiro Aoyama (Hiroshima), Yojiro Takahagi (Hiroshima), Hideto Takahashi (Tokyo), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Takahiro Ogihara (Osaka), Gaku Shibasaki (Kashima Antlers)
Forwards: Yohei Toyoda (Sagan Tosu), Hiroki Yamada (Iwata), Yoichiro Kakitani (Osaka), Manabu Saito (Yokohama), Masato Kudo (Kashiwa), Yuya Osako (Kashima), Genki Haraguchi (Urawa)