TOKYO - Former Japan striker Kazuyoshi Miura is offering to report for World Cup duty at the grand old age of 43 - with no hint of irony.
Still going strong with J-League second division side Yokohama FC, Miura insists he is serious about wanting to be named among Japan's stand-by players by coach Takeshi Okada.
"I was excited about the squad announcement (on Monday)," Miura told Wednesday's Nikkan Sports newspaper. "If I had been fit I would have felt a greater sense of expectation."
Miura, sidelined with an ankle injury for two months, was famously axed by Okada just before the 1998 World Cup finals in France, sparking a national debate.
"Even if there is no chance of playing I don't care," said Miura, who is Japan's second highest goalscorer with 55 goals in 89 internationals and the oldest player in the J-League.
"I'm free and if I can be of service I am here," added the former Genoa forward, dubbed "King Kazu" during his hey-day in the early 1990s when he was Asia's best-known footballer.
Okada was scheduled to name his list of seven replacements for his final 23-man squad later on Wednesday.
Asked what advice he would give younger Japan players appearing in their first World Cup, Miura said: "Dunno. I've never been to one myself!"comments