Japan's Maya Yoshida (R) was involved in a confrontation with Saudi Arabia fans after his side's 1-0 qualifying defeat Photo: AFP
soccer

Japan skipper Yoshida accuses Saudi fans of 'discriminatory gestures'

21 Comments

Maya Yoshida confronted Saudi Arabia fans and later accused them of making "discriminatory gestures" after defeat left Japan in danger of missing the World Cup for the first time since 1994.

Japan's captain had angry words with a section of the home fans after the qualifying defeat in Jeddah on Thursday, after they were seen taunting him during a post-match interview.

Mobile phone footage showed the Sampdoria defender marching towards the fence separating the supporters from the pitch, jabbing his finger and remonstrating with them.

He then strode off after being restrained by Japanese officials, but later returned to explain his reaction to reporters.

"There were discriminatory gestures," the 33-year-old was quoted as saying by Japanese media, without expanding on what the gestures were. "It's difficult to accept. It happened in the last qualifiers as well. It's very disappointing."

The result left Japan with just three points from three games in Group B, having started the campaign with a shock home loss to Oman and a narrow away win over China.

The four-time Asian champions, who have appeared at the past six World Cups, now face a must-win home clash with high-flying Australia on Tuesday.

Fans took to social media to call for manager Hajime Moriyasu to be fired, and newspaper columnists were also scathing in their verdict, with Japan's hopes of reaching the Qatar 2022 World Cup in peril.

"Before the match, Moriyasu said it was an away game and he also mentioned the climate and the jet lag," commentator Sergio Echigo wrote in the Nikkan Sports daily. "I can only think that he was getting his excuses in early for losing."

Echigo pointed out that Japan had only scored one goal in three games, and fans on social media were also unimpressed.

One demanded "give me my sleep back" after getting up at 2 a.m. to watch the game.

Another wrote: "I used to look forward to watching Japan games, but if it's going to be like this every time, I'm losing the desire to watch them. It's boring."

Nikkan Sports reported that the nationality of midfielder Gaku Shibasaki, whose errant back pass let in Saudi Arabia for the winning goal, was briefly changed from Japanese to Saudi on his Wikipedia page.

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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Fire 30 plus players for Japanese if Japan want to win not the coach all players should be under 25 if Japan wants a chance n shoot at chance players not pass at chance player otherwise bye bye football

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Racism, unfortunately FIFA is not interested unless they can get some publicity from it. Nothing will happen…..however, do something to upset a sponsor and they’d throw the book at you.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Racism in soccer? Well, there's a shock!

Good on Yoshida for standing up against this disgrace from Saudi fans. It took guts. Unfortunately racism by hateful fans seems to be a common theme in soccer. FIFA does not address the issue in a meaningful way, so it just continues.

Hopefully a formal complaint is made. Having to set foot in Saudi Arabia, let alone play soccer in front of backwards fans is an ordeal for sure.

3 ( +19 / -16 )

So the Saudi fans are kinda like Urawa Reds fans?

0 ( +12 / -12 )

That's something you just have to deal with, The more you react, the more happy you make the idiots

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Saudi football fans musn't be happy or too much sun.You won the game yet still need to carry on? It's not like with England going to Eastern Europe and playing, where the home team knows they're going to lose, so show off their backwardness and take it out on England's black players.But people are who they are,regardless of nationality I guess.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

The problem is that Japan are simply not good enough at the moment and the manager has lost whatever passion, energy and enthusiasm he had. Japan soccer needs a revamp and quickly.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

...Norwich,Leeds,Sampdoria or FC Cologne that are still cheering their teams even if they might play in lower tiers.

Football is only for a certain people is bogus.But I have to question your footballing credentials when the teams you mentioned all play in their top tier leagues.Real fans would know that.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Good on Yoshida for standing up against this disgrace from Saudi fans. It took guts. Unfortunately racism by hateful fans seems to be a common theme in soccer. FIFA does not address the issue in a meaningful way, so it just continues. 

As a football fan and an Urawa Reds fan, I hope you do your bit to put racists in their place when you go to the games.

You can do your bit.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Racism in football should be resisted by the players and the true fans.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Racism should not be tolerated in any sport.

Nikkan Sports reported that the nationality of midfielder Gaku Shibasaki, whose errant back pass let in Saudi Arabia for the winning goal, was briefly changed from Japanese to Saudi on his Wikipedia page.

That's pretty funny though.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

As a football fan and an Urawa Reds fan, I hope you do your bit to put racists in their place when you go to the games.

You can do your bit.

True. However, Urawa dealt with those handful of dropkicks over a decade ago when the racist sign incident occurred. They were banned, as should be all racists from sports events who choose to spew hatred and bigotry. Including these Saudis.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

He's the captain so he did what he ought to have done if he witnessed such 'discriminatory gestures'. There are still enough idiots in crowds at stadiums who don't realize that there are cameras everywhere.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

True. However, Urawa dealt with those handful of dropkicks over a decade ago when the racist sign incident occurred.

Banning them is no use because they still enter and watch games freely…there is no policing the fans entering stadiums! So, the fact remains that Urawa just banned them for publicity! Lots of racism exists in Japan so Yoshida accusing Saudi fans is more or less like kettle calling the pot black!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

What was the gesture, Black players had bananas, thrown at them in Europe, do this too a 300 pound player in the NFL, ,see what will happen to them, it obviously they were not drunk, alcohol is outlawed in Saudi Arabia

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Zichi , what do you know about American football, they planning a game in London ,you probably do not have the basis idea, what going on

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Until I came to Japan I had always called it football, still do.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

A short time ago.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian football fans, officials, and former players have condemned the behavior of a minority of supporters who taunted Japan’s captain Maya Yoshida after his team’s 1-0 loss in Thursday’s World Cup qualifier in Jeddah.

The incident was filmed by a fan on his mobile phone and later posted on social media, leading to Saudi football followers launching a campaign on Twitter under the hashtag, Saudi fans apologize to Japan.

And

Ibrahim Al-Qassem, secretary-general of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation on Friday took to Twitter to express his disappointment at what had happened.

“I have apologized to the general secretary of the Japanese Football Association and those segments of fans do not represent the Saudi community,” he said.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1944041/sport

We wait and watch, always, to see if trust can follow words very far into the future.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Until I came to Japan I had always called it football, still do.

In Japan, and Japanese media, it is Soccer (サッカー)

Let us stick to "soccer", please.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is why players kneel on the pitch

Some spectators still never learn

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Football, of course !

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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