Former Samurai Blue manager Zico, a Brazilian Football legend and considered one of the best players of his time, endorses Tokyo in the bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2020. He believes that Japan will be “a great host” for the prestigious event. Recalling his stay in Japan, Zico commends the Japanese passion for sport, either in playing or spectating.
“It is a country that is even beyond being passionate about sport and one that offers all the conditions for warmly welcoming people,” Zico said. The 60-year old Brazilian spent three seasons playing in Japan for Kashima Antlers, which he also managed in 1999. “There was a park close to my house in Japan and it was always full, everyone practicing many sports – that was very cool to see.” In 1992, Zico scored 11 goals in ten consecutive games. No wonder the Japanese fans call him “God of Soccer.”
Zico’s stay in Japan did not end with the Antlers. He returned to Japan to manage the National Football Team from 2002 – 2006. Under Zico, whose real name is Arthur Antunes Coimbra, the Samurai Blue qualified for the 2006 World Cup and won the 2004 Asian Cup. Having stayed in Japan for years, Zico describes the country as “beyond being passionate about sport and one that offers all the conditions for warmly welcoming people.” The 2004 Hall of Fame inductee is also confident with Tokyo’s preparedness in hosting the Olympics. “Japan successfully co-hosted the World Cup and from what I saw and the experience I had there, both the facilities and Japan has all the right conditions to hold the Olympic Games,” he added.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will have the final decision this Saturday which among Tokyo, Madrid, and Istanbul will host the 2020 Summer Olympics. “Tokyo is totally ready and I would be very happy if they were to win the honour 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.
[via Inside the Games]