Samurai Blue captain Makoto Hasebe may have to sit out Friday’s friendly due to his continued struggles with a surgically repaired right knee, a Japan Football Association executive has said.
“We shouldn’t let him play if it’s hard for him,” JFA General Secretary Hiromi Hara said Wednesday.
Hasebe did not appear in Monday’s 3-1 win against Costa Rica because of tightness in his leg and other concerns. Friday’s friendly against Zambia will be Japan’s last game before the World Cup, which kicks off June 12. The squad is set to arrive in Brazil on Saturday.
On Wednesday, Hasebe and defender Gotoku Sakai worked separately from their teammates during a two-hour practice session that was closed to the media after a short time. Hasebe tested the condition of his right knee, which has undergone two surgeries this year, with sprints and other training, according to Hara.
Forward Shinji Okazaki spent the day at a hotel with a mild fever in the morning, but by afternoon it had gone down, Hara said.