- Kumagai is the reigning AFC Ladies’s Participant of the 12 months
- Well-known for scoring the title-winning penalty at Germany 2011
- Japan captain out to win maiden Olympic gold
Saki Kumagai is a participant accustomed to accumulating trophies.
As a 20-year-old she helped Japan win their first FIFA Ladies’s International Cup name at Germany 2011 earlier than completing because the runners-up 4 years later at Canada 2015. After being passed the captain’s armband in 2017, she skippered Nadeshiko to be topped champions on the 2018 AFC Ladies’s Asian Cup.
On the membership stage, she helped Urawa Reds to change into Nadeshiko League champions in 2009 earlier than claiming six consecutive first-division titles with Olympique Lyonnais, plus profitable all previous 4 UEFA Ladies’s Champions League titles. Maximum just lately, she used to be topped because the 2019 AFC Ladies’s Participant of the 12 months.
Most likely the one name which stays elusive for her is an Olympic gold medal. She figured prominently as Japan stormed to the general at London 2012 simplest to be edged out by means of america. And so they even did not qualify for Rio 2016, a sadness which has additional sharpened her urge for food for redemption.
We just lately stuck up with the 29-year-old, whose sole intention for Tokyo 2020 is to seize the gold.
FIFA.com: Taking a look again, how do you mirror to your soccer occupation up to now? Are you glad with what you might have completed?
Saki Kumagai: I believe my soccer occupation up to now has been in point of fact blessed. After all, I could not have come this a ways had it no longer been for the good beef up from such a lot of other people. To be fair, I’m extra than simply proud of what I’ve completed. I’m happy with a majority of these effects which I’ve gained along side my nice team-mates.
Successful the 2011 Ladies’s International Cup used to be such an early spotlight. You have been an integral a part of that squad and also you scored the general’s profitable penalty. What do you bear in mind about that event and what does it imply for you?
I used to be simplest 20 years previous when enjoying on the 2011 Ladies’s International Cup. All that I may just bear in mind now could be that we have been preventing desperately all the way through. I don’t bring to mind it as my occupation’s height however profitable the Ladies’s International Cup and with the ability to revel in that victory is a actually superb and glad reminiscence.
You additionally scored the decisive penalty for Lyon within the 2016 UEFA Champions League Ultimate, following a player-of-the-match efficiency. Do you elegance your self as penalty specialist? What made you such a success?
In reality, I’m neither just right at nor keen on penalty kicks! Alternatively, I were given quite a lot of alternatives of caring for spot-kicks after the 2011 Ladies’s International Cup ultimate. I’ve won plenty of revel in and with time I’ve change into lovely succesful. I now revel in dealing with the duty of dueling with goalkeepers. I simply pay attention to the ball and I believe that is most likely the explanation why I so ceaselessly win the fight and in finding the again of the online.
It gave the impression that Japan rose from a promising Asian facet to one of the vital very best on the planet in a single day in 2011. How did that vary come about?
The 2011 Ladies’s International Cup luck must be at the beginning attributed to our revered veterans. They’d labored exhausting and long gone via a lot hardship to achieve that stage and led the crew to be global champions. Above all, it used to be our never-say-die spirit that carried us via in that Ladies’s International Cup because the crew made notable development.
After 2011 you moved to Europe and also you spent two years with Frankfurt, earlier than making the transfer to Olympique Lyonnais, the place you continue to play. What revel in have you ever won by means of enjoying with those Eu giants?
I’ve honed my talents and been toughened up in competing in opposition to best aspects. Those are precious reports for Eastern avid gamers when having a look to counter the sector’s very best groups and win.
Having observed the former technology retire, now a gaggle of younger avid gamers had been totally built-in into the facet. How do you view the present crew beneath trainer Asako Takakura?
On this crew there are relatively a couple of promising avid gamers who’ve excellent method. They’ve large possible.
And as captain, how do you view your position?
The speculation is that we’ve got loose and clean conversation throughout the crew. My hope is that our avid gamers can say anything else they wish to. My a part of the activity is developing the ambience and fueling the chemistry for this kind of crew.
Japan’s transition between generations has regarded clean, bearing in mind that you simply gained the 2018 Asian Cup and the new East Ladies’s Asian Cup. What objectives have you ever set for the 2020 Ladies’s Olympic Soccer Event as hosts?
Our purpose is to win the gold medal on the 2020 Olympic Video games on house soil. Not anything extra and not anything much less.
What objectives have you ever set for the brand new yr of 2020?
The purpose is to cherish each day, to benefit from the provide as I proceed pushing ahead.
The achievements by means of the Nadeshiko have made a gigantic have an effect on at the girls’s recreation in Japan. As a participant, I need to do no matter I will be able to to lend a hand the crew and make girls’s soccer development even additional.