KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS —- Japan’s Kohzo Tashima has confirmed his bid for a place at the FIFA top table on behalf of the Asian Football Confederation.
The Japan Football Association has confirmed that Tashima, its vice-president and executive general secretary, had submitted his official nomination for the election to at Congress on April 30 in Manama, Bahrain.
Tashima signalled, to this writer, his intention to run for a seat of FIFA exco early in 2013 and “is now all set to devote all his time and energy for the betterment of football in Asia and around the world. “
He said: “I am confident to say that I am ready to take on the next step forward to share my knowledge and experiences I gained over the past decades as footballer, manager, and administrator through the journey we take together as Asian football family to bring our football to the next level.”
Tashima, 57, scored one goal in seven games in attack and midfield for Japan in 1979-80 and played his club football for Furukawa Electric in the days immediately before the creation of the J.League.
He has undertaken a number of roles with both FIFA and the AFC and served as technical director of the JFA between 2002 and 2006 and then as general secretary until 2010 when he took up his present dual roles.
Tashima played a key role in the development of the Japanese academy system which has achieved spectacular success, particularly in the women’s game. The era has also seen Japanese national teams develop of suitable playing style and turned the men’s seniors into regulars at the World Cup finals.
Within the AFC Tashima made a name for himself in the resolute way to sought to lead the evaluation commission created in the wake of the Bin Hammam funds scandal in 2011.
This may both cost him and gain him votes in an intriguing election which is being staged in the home of AFC president Sheikh Salman Ebrahim bin Khalifa rather than in the ‘AFC capital’ of Kuala Lumpur.
The deadline for nominations to the AFC election congress is February 28. Tashima’s rivals for one of the three ‘ordinary’ AFC seats on the FIFA exco include Chung Mong-gyu (president of the South Korean federation), FIFA veteran Worawi Makudi (head of the Football Association of Thailand), Tengku Abdullah (president of the Football Association of Malaysia) and Saud Al Mohannadi (vice-president of the Qatar Football Association).
Japan has been absent from the world game’s top table since the retirement three years ago of former JFA president and general secretary Junji Ogura.
China’s Zhang Jilong, parachuted back into the FIFA exco by the AFC in 2013 after the worldwide suspension of Sri Lanka’s Vernon Manilal Fernando, is not expected to stand.
One man certainly not standing for re-election is FIFA’s current Asian vice-president Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan. A change in statutes means that the AFC president will also take over that status after congress.
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