BUENOS AIRES: Japan’s Brazilian coach Zico has endorsed Tokyo 2020 ahead of the host city election for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Zico, regarded as one of the most talented players of his generation, has insisted that the Japanese passion for sport and the country’s proven ability to host international sporting events would make Tokyo an inspirational host of superb Games in 2020.

He said: “The Japanese passion for sport is great, both in playing and spectating. It is a country that is even beyond being passionate about sport and one that offers all the conditions for warmly welcoming people.

“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. Sport in Japan brings unity, friendship and many important influences to society.”

Zico had every confidence in Tokyo’s hosting capability, saying: “Japan has the entire infrastructure to be a great host. Everything works, everything is well organized for people to go to the stadiums. Japan has successfully co-hosted the FIFA 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. People in Japan have a peaceful, vibrant and exciting manner of attending matches.

“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.

“I think that everybody who goes to Japan is delighted with the warm welcome and the caring of the Japanese people. The facilities, transportation, accommodation and communication – everything is easy. I think Japan is now fully prepared to host,”he said.

Zico won 72 caps for Brazil, scoring 52 goals, and played in the FIFA World Cup in 1978, 1982 and 1986. He coached the Japan national team for four years, including leading the nation to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

His experience of the country extends back to 1991 when he joined Kashima Antlers (then Sumitomo) and became one of the star players of the newly formed J-League.