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Cooks arrive before Japan team

By M Chhaya in Kolkata
September 06, 2004 15:13 IST
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Loaded with kilos of fish, beef, vegetables, noodles, rice and an assortment of cooking ingredients, a team of Japanese chefs has landed in city ahead of their football team that will play India in the 2006 World Cup qualifier match in Kolkata on Wednesday.

The team will put up at the Hyatt Regency hotel, where the Japanese chefs have set up their base kitchen to serve a contingent of 45 players and officials.

"I'm tasked with the responsibility of feeding the Japanese national team and we usually arrive in advance at a foreign venue where the team is playing," said team's chief chef Nisii Yositaru.

Yositaru arrived with his assistants and team secretary Kenichiro Matsumoto, who came to the city two months ago to prepare a report on the Indian conditions so that the team management could draw up a suitable training programme.

"The hotel facility is good and we have inspected the ground," Matsumoto said.

He was, however, unhappy that the two team's dressing rooms were close-by.

He said an alternative dressing room could be needed if the team management objected to the present one.

Meanwhile, Yositaru is ensuring that the players are not exposed to the hot Indian curries.

"Indian curries are good, but not suited for our players because they are too hot and spicy."

The chief chef has brought with him 45 kgs of fish, 40 kgs of beef, vegetables, noodles and rice.

The team usually has noodles, steamed rice, fried and baked fish, soup and beef stakes.

"If any player wants to try out Indian dishes at the team hotel, it is up to him," Yositaru said.

The match has generated great interest among football fans in Kolkata and the 1,30,000 capacity stadium is expected to be full.

Japan won its home tie 7-0 and is expected to make a clean sweep of the away match as well.

Japan, coached by Zico, have nine points from three matches, and need only one more victory to sail into the final round of the World Cup qualifiers.

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M Chhaya in Kolkata

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