The CNMI Men’s National Team training pool met a lot of adversaries during their training camp in Japan last week and embraced them to prep for the even tougher challenges ahead.
The Blue Ayuyus brought 18 players from the pool for the July 17-22 training camp and played against Shonan Bellmare, Shonnan Kokadaifuzoku, Seisa Kokusai, and Nittai University besides holding rigorous practice sessions.
“We got a lot of ‘pain’ during the training camp, facing much stronger teams in a hot, humid, and very different environment, losing matches, and playing with tired bodies. But players decided and accepted these conditions. They know we need to go through a lot of these pains in this training camp to bring our team to the next level before the EAFF tournament,” head coach Michiteru Mita said.
Mita’s wards had the training camp in Japan to get ready for the EAFF E-1 Men’s Preliminary Round 1—a qualifier for the 2019 EAFF E-1 Football Championship and will take place in Ulan Bator in Mongolia this September.
“We lost matches, however the boys played their best in all matches and never gave up until the end. I appreciate our boys hard work and how they understand the objectives of our training camp in Japan,” Mita said.
Blue Ayuyus captain Jon Takano said the matches against the Japanese teams were the kind of games they need with less than three months to go before they play in the qualifier against the host, Macau, and Guam.
“It was definitely a great experiences for the team. This new men’s team is made of a large number of youth players. To grow and become mature, we all need to have bitter experiences. We are lucky to have had this Japanese training camp a few months before the EAFF event,” Takano said.
“Now we all know what we are lacking of, not just only in soccer skills and conditioning, but mentally—that’s the area that we really need to improve on. I’m certain that we can get better and have a better preparation for EAFF. We gained more experienced than the number we got scored from the whole games,” he added.
Vice captain Enrico Del Rosario echoed Takano’s observations.
“The training camp was a good experience and we learned a lot from it. We played against some good teams and they will prepare us for the EAFF tournament,” Del Rosario said.
Mita, on the other hand, took note of the team’s improved chemistry.
“I saw improvement in the team chemistry on and off the pitch. We had a lot of discussion and meeting during the camp so we are able to know more about our team and each other. This is a huge advantage in building a better team toward the EAFF competition. We will keep working hard in the last five weeks and we will show our best NMI football in the EAFF tournament,” Mita said.
Meanwhile, team manager Norman Del Rosario and Northern Mariana Islands Football Association would like to thank Japan Football Association and Seisa Group for their assistance to the Blue Ayuyus.
“We got tremendous support from JFA and Seisa group again, especially Seisa president Yasuo Miyazawa and director of Hakone accommodation Mr. Anno for treating us as special guests. They always made us feel comfortable and happy while we were in Hakone. We would also like to thank JFA’s Satoru Nakamura and Eri Dekitani for all their help,” the team manager said.