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Ex-Brazilian soccer star shoots for Tokyo to host 2020 Olympics

English.news.cn   2013-09-03 19:23:09            

TOKYO, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Former Brazilian star and Japan national soccer team coach Zico has said that Tokyo would be the best host for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, claiming that the nation has a great passion for sport and a congenial attitude towards welcoming guests, local media reported Tuesday.

The soccer legend, who competed in three World Cups, also played in Japan and coached the national team for four years, including at the 2006 World Cup, also praised Japan's infrastructure and organizational capabilities.

"Japan has the entire infrastructure to be a great host. Everything works, everything is well organized for people to go to the stadiums," Zico said in a statement.

He said that previous global sporting events hosted by Japan proved that the nation and its capital city Tokyo were well placed to hold the Games and applauded the Japanese peoples' passion for sport and welcoming nature.

Tokyo is facing rival bids from both Madrid and Istanbul, but pundits believe at this stage Tokyo is slightly ahead in the eyes of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who will make their final decision by secret ballot in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7.

Zico, who finished his playing career after three years at Japan's Kashima Antlers in 1994 before starting his coaching career there, scored an amazing 52 goals in his time with the Brazilian national team and earned 72 caps and three consecutive World Cup appearances in 1978, 1982 and 1986.

"Tokyo is totally ready and I would be very happy if they were to win the honor of hosting the Games, because Japan is a country that always seeks to provide the best hospitality for everyone who comes to the country," said Zico.

Similar support for Tokyo's bid has been made by Arsene Wenger, manager of English Premier League team Arsenal FC. The most respected managers in the game, said that Tokyo would be an inspirational venue for the games.

"I was here when the World Cup was voted in 1995 for 2002 and Japan was ready six years before the World Cup and has a great environment for sport," he said during an interview with Nagoya TV, adding "I am confident that everyone will be inspired should Tokyo host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games."

Japan's Princess Hisako is also throwing her weight behind Tokyo hosting the games and will be attending the IOC Committee meeting in Buenos Aires, government officials confirmed Tuesday.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the office of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had asked the Imperial Household Agency to send Princess Hisako to the IOC meeting through the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Suga, speaking to a news conference Tuesday, however, said that Princess Hisako attending the committee meeting was in no way political and the decision to ask her was based on her former position as an honorary president of the Japan Football Association (JFA) and the contributions she made to the sport during her time there.

Editor: Mengjie
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