New opening scheduled for early April 2013.
I am populating the blog putting together scribbles and pictures from January 2013 to present.
Update: January 2012 completed!
Might catch up with pre 2012 later…
In the meantime, you can visit my website by clicking HERE !
And feel free to mail me with queries on Japanese and Asian football at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here I am, back again in Japan and surrounded by an amazing panel of experts to discuss what the J.League has achieved in 20 years, and what lies ahead. The show started at 11pm lasted four hours but it was a breeze–we could have literally gone on talking for days, I guess.
My personal best moment of the evening was to chat and take a picture with Mari Hibino. I used to watch her and Nonomura-san on J.League Aftergame Show for many years, they were both my idols. So, it was very exciting to be in the same show with her. But everybody was unbelievably knowledgeable and nice. Highlight of my TV career, so far!
Goal.com is rebranding, in a matter of a few months we will have a new website with a brand new logo as well. The new logo is very XXIst century, it will take me a bit to get used to it, but surely it will be a hit with kiddos in Gen Y and Z.
The old logo is despised by many as old-fashioned (true) but still, I kinda like it. To me, it represents the colorful mess that world football is, especially in my region, Asia.
Somebody (sorry forgot who!!) sent me a link to the history of the logo, well worth a read. It is way more complicated that I thought!
Today I received a very welcome request of friendship on facebook, from Timor Leste Brazilian coach Emerson Alcantara. We became friends in Yangon, when I was there for the AFF Suzuki Cup’s qualifiers.
Timor Leste were the sensation of the tournament, and missed the qualification to the final phase by a goal. They actually hit the post in the 91st minute of the last game. A few centimeters, and they would have been on their way to Kuala Lumpur.
Despite the cruel ending, Emerson spoke as a true football gentleman at the press conference. No excuses, no complains and a lot of love for his players. I thiks from the picture above you can tell a lot about the kind of person he is… One of a kind, and happy to be his friend.
Down to Bangkok to meet the entire local editorial team of Goal.com. A very positive day discussing the intricacies of working in Thailand. The highlights of the evening were Mr. Heatie’s humorous comments on punctuality, and Mr, Jeera’s fascinating call for a free journalism for Thai football. Impressive.
Each edition of Goal.com in Asia has its own character. I love how the guys in Thailand are open-minded, kind and intrinsically artistic in all they do. I am not surprised that their country was never colonized. These people are free by nature. Viva Goal.com Thailand!
And so the first game of the season for 2013 was in Thailand: Chonburi FC vs Busan IPark. Fantastic hospitality from the Thai club, thanks a lot. And as usual a nice chat with their coach Witthaya Laohakul, who was in Japan for some 15 years.
Busan won the final at penalties after the regular 90 minutes ended 1-1, but what was impressive is how they played the whole match as if it was the final of the AFC Champions League. Some of the players even picked up an argument with the Thai fans. If you’re playing pre-season and you still want a real game, call in a Korean club!
Before becoming a full-time football editor, I used to freelance while teaching and coacingh at a High School in Japan. I loved the classroom and the soccer field, but, as most of my colleagues, dreaded the weekly meeting, with 100 teachers or so locked in a room for -at time- hours.
Being now managing editor of a continent for Goal.com, I decided to do it differently. I called the meeting at “my” villa in Bali, and invited those coming to bring along their family and significant others if they wanted. It was a very positive experience for us all. I learned a lot.
I shall never be afraid to break new ground. Thanks to my bosses for being open-minded and for trusting my judgement, even when I have unconventional ideas.
And thanks to Michael for waking up at dawn to go to the fish market, buying the tuna and cooking it for us!
After three hard months of rehabilitation, today I played 15 minutes of futsal. I was exhausted, but what a joy to run on the pitch and kick that ball.
I think that we writing about football should also play it regularly, no matter how the years are catching up and the body might hurt. If we detach from the Game itself, we lose one of our greatest gifts, the understanding for those on the field.
Thou it was a game between friends, I found myself calling back the defenders loudly when we were outnumbered, and celebrating a goal. So, in Singapore as well I heard the comment “Ah, Italians are very passionate, uh?”
Thanks a lot to my team-mates and of course to my pyhsio, Dr. Leonard.
The name of Kazuyuki Toda evokes memories of 1977ish hairstyles and brutal sliding tackles. What a surprise to find him, now 35, suddenly in Singapore.
I had chat with him for Goal.com, and quickly found out he is a really cool chap. He has signed with S.League’s SAF, from this season renamed Warriors FC, and joined the huge squadron of Japanese in Southeast Asia.
Here is my exclusive interview with him, where you can find out he is a candid guy, still very much in love with football and curious to see where his career will take him. Best luck!
Ah, technology. Today I sat in a tatami room (thanks for the hospitality Teppei!) in Kyoto and SkyPe’d my debut on Astro’s FourFourTwo Eurozone, a TV show broadcasted in Malaysia. It was entertaining and relaxed, but also a bit eerie, as I had no idea of what was happening in the studio in Kuala Lumpur.
In fact, it was quite surprising when I saw a picture from the show – ha! Thanks a lot to producer Mary, host Rosh and the wonderful staff down there. And must say I am quite proud of my comments on Bundesliga and Ligue 1′s transfers. Not my specialty, but I did my homework OK. Can’t wait for an invitation to the show with me at the studio in person!
Unbearably cold in Japan after I got used to dwell in Singapore. However, a very warm’s pre-New year’s Day party at KiBar in Osaka. The cozy outlet is owned and managed by one of the nicest chaps in Japanese football, former Gamba Osaka’s captain Masao Kiba. We became friends after a gig together at the late Inter Channel Japan, thus I paid him a long due visit.
Besides my friends Atsuo, Misaki, and Yuna, I was lucky enough to bump into Japanese football legend Tsuneyasu Miyamoto. Lovely chat with him about his FIFA Master (he’ll be for three months in my hometown, Milano), football and life.
Little anecdote here: the first time I spoke with Tsune it was back in 1999. We were in a taxi off to a restaurant and he was hoping Troussier will give him a chance with the National Team. Little we knew that three years later Miyamoto would actually captain Japan at the 2002 World Cup…
Anyway, still hungovered but great way to kick off the year…