Monday, Aug. 31, 2009
Vissel Kobe striker Yoshito Okubo has pulled out of Japan's squad for two upcoming friendlies in the Netherlands because of lower back pain and will be replaced by Jubilo Iwata's Ryoichi Maeda, head coach Takeshi Okada said Sunday.
"Okubo has a bad back and a long haul flight will do him no good," said Okada. "I had already decided that I would draft in Maeda as cover in the event of injuries to strikers."
Maeda, who has hit 12 goals for Iwata this season, returns to the fold for the first time since being called up for a national team training camp in July last year.
Japan takes on the Dutch national team in Enschede on Sept. 5 and Ghana four days later in Utrecht.