Getting to know Iyoko Yamazaki Jin, Japan's team managerNews
During the 2019 IFCPF World Cup in Seville, Iyoko Yamazaki Jin was Japan's team manager. But she does so many things for Japanese CP Football and the development of women's CP Football. Volunteer Maggie Tervit interviewed her when in Seville.
- What is your official role with the CP team?
"During a CP Championship I am the manager. This is a voluntary role. When I'm in Japan I have several roles, e.g. I organise or help to organise women CP Football promotion events and camps, training camps for the youth players and also the Japanese Championships."
- How did you got involved with CP-Football?
"A friend invited me to come and watch a Football Camp. I was very impressed by the enthusiasm of the people involved and I decided to become a volunteer. After that and I saw an advert in a newspaper for someone to translate CP Football rules into Japanese and I applied and got the job. It all started from there."
- Japan was asked to take part in the 2019 IFCPF World Cup, at very short notice, after Venezuela had to withdraw. This must have been a lot of last minute organising but you obviously felt it would be worthwhile?
"We couldn’t take part in the 2018 Championships in Iran, because of unforeseen circumstances. For this reason, when the opportunity arose, we grabbed the chance. It is important to raise our level of play and also our ranking. Three of our players are still at school and we had to get permission for them to have special leave."
- Is there a Japanese CP league?
"There is no CP League but we organise the Japanese Championships yearly. This is usually a two day event and takes place in October. Unfortunately the last Championship had to be shortened to one day because of an unexpected typhoon."
- How often are the players able to train and play together?
"The national team trains together once a month and the players train with their respective CP Football Clubs once a week. There are 7 CP clubs in Japan, mostly in Tokyo and Osaka but a couple of clubs are outside of the metropolitan areas."
- What is the average age of the players?
"Our team is quite young, I think the average age is around 23-24. Our youngest player is only 15 years old."
- Some countries struggle to find funding. How does this apply to the Japanese team?
"We also struggle. The three main reasons are:
• About 10 years ago the players had to pay most of the expenses themselves. At present the JCPFA is covering most of the costs (the players pay approximately 25% themselves). This extra support came about when it was announced the Tokyo would host the Paralympic Games in 2020. Thereafter the extra funding will be decreased.
• The Japanese Government supports most of the Sports Associations. The amount received depends on the results and our team needs to get better results in order to receive more funding.
• We have sponsors but they wish their contributions to be allocated to specific projects and not for the national team."
- You have been to the Netherlands twice with the CP team for extra training. A long way to travel. Was it beneficial?
"These Football Camps were for young players to develop their skills and motivations. Four of the players who attended these camps are our current national team players. Therefore it was definitely beneficial."
- Do you know briefly what the development plans are for the men’s CP team?
"Unfortunately the funds for the national team at the moment are very limited. I will do my best to organise camps and trainings to develop youth players."
You have your own business, can you tell me what it entails?
"I run an organisation called Esperanza. It is made up of three parts:
CP-football club with approximately 60 members, for children and adults.
Sports café, where some of our workers are people with special needs.
After school day service where we teach football to approximately 50 children with special needs.
The concept is to provide a place where people with special needs can play and work together."