As Japan takes on Korea today at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 tournament, The Dragflick had a quick chat with 24 year old, Japanese goalkeeper Takashi Yoshikawa.
Takashi told The Dragflick, that even though he is struggling with Malaysia’s hot weather conditions, he is exceptionally pleased and delighted to come back to play at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament.
“It is an honour to play at this prestigious tournament.” said the goalkeeper who is playing his third Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament.
Takashi, made his international debut against New Zealand in November 2014, in a test match series. He was a part of the 2015 Junior Asia Cup squad. He was also a part of the 2018 Asian Games Gold winning team squad.
The Japanese Men’s hockey team is currently playing at the Azlan Shah Cup 2019 in Ipoh and even though they have managed to secure only one victory out of 4 games, the scorelines are far superior than what it would use to be in the past.
The Asian Games Gold Medallist Takashi attributed his success in preparation and performance to Pakistan’s maestro – Former Captain, Goalkeeper and Olympian Salman Akbar.
Salman, who currently plays professional field hockey in Holland, and who also runs his own Goalkeeping academy there, joined as a ‘Goalkeeping coach’ for the Japan Men’s National team in Feb 2018.
In just a span of one year, Salman molded him, and the two formed a great connect and the mutual respect grew.
“I am fortunate to work with Salman, he is a huge inspiration to me.” Takashi told the Dragflick.
Goalkeeping is a specialist individual position and having the availability of a coach who believes in you and trains you to be the best you can be is vital for any young goalkeeper.
Japan will take on Korea today at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 in Ipoh, Malaysia. Action begins at 6:05 pm.