TOKYO - Japan coach Takeshi Okada may allow his players' family members and partners to stay with the team at their World Cup base in South Africa next year. The "Blue Samurai" have earmarked a luxury golf resort in George, in South Africa's Western Cape province, and Okada could relax rules on family members joining the players during the tournament. "The families won't be staying in the same rooms. It would be a different part of the complex," Japan Football Association (JFA) media officer Ichirota Fukushi told Reuters on Friday. "But at this stage a final decision has not been reached. Other teams like Brazil and England have done it before but it's something we are still exploring." Having families join the team at the World Cup would be a first for Japan, who secured their place in their fourth finals last month. "The team will be there to compete so obviously their families would not be under the same roof," JFA President Motoaki Inukai told Japanese media. "But if you consider the issue of public safety the players would be more comfortable having their families at the base with them." Some national team coaches ban contact with wives and girlfriends at major tournaments to avoid distraction for their players. The England team's wives and girlfriends sparked a media frenzy at the 2006 World Cup in Germany as paparazzi camped out in Baden-Baden to snap them partying at nightclubs until the early hours.
17 July 2009
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