Simao Mate advises Japanese players. "Believe yourself more!!" (2ページ目)

  • text by Yoichi Igawa
  • photo by Manabu Takahashi

"Yes, I hope so," Simao happily agreed with me. "There are still many players with big potential in Africa. Some European clubs realised that a long ago and have founded local academies or agreed partnerships with local clubs. In Portuguese-speaking countries like Mozambique and Angola, Portuguese clubs such as Benfica, Sporting, and Porto have made close connections and scouted good young players.

"So I hope some Japanese clubs or people will do the same. Geographically, Africa is far away from Japan, but such a move could bring it closer. Although it could of course bring some risk, it would be of great benefit to Japanese clubs and the J-League in the future. There are many players from South America in the league, especially Brazilians, but I would like them to pay attention to the opposite continent."

What kind of advice would he give to any foreign players thinking of moving to Japan?

"Just come here!" Simao said, before laughing naturally. "You can enjoy high quality life and high level soccer here. Very convenient and nice living, a highly competitive league, professional clubs with no delay in payment, great teammates and fans... What else do you need? If you hesitate, decide it now and do the hard work. If you can prove yourself on the pitch, the supporters will give you great respect."

That is also what Simao experienced. He only started a few matches in the beginning and struggled a little afterwards, but returned as a starter and became the lynchpin of Vegalta's back line. That is mainly because of his adjustment to Japan, and he still wants to know more about the country.

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