Ledley King (left), Thomas Wong (centre), Chief Marketing Officer AIA Malaysia Berhad and Ossie Ardiles pose for a picture during the Tottenham Legends' Tour press conference in KL. - BERNAMA
KUALA LUMPUR: Former Tottenham Hotspur and Argentina star midfielder Ossie Ardiles believes that one way for Asian countries to improve their football is to emulate Japan’s J-League.
Ardiles, who has vast experience coaching in Asia, Europe and South America, credited Japan’s professional league for their success in world football.
The J-League, which began in 1993, set the foundation for Japan to emerge as a Asian football powerhouse and the Blue Samurai have been regulars at the World Cup Finals since 1998.
The 62-year-old Ardiles, who coached Shimuzu S-Pulse (1996-98), Yokohama Marinos (2000–2001) and Tokyo Verdy (2003–2005) in the J-League, said that “a strong domestic league will produce quality players”.
“Japan were nobody in world football but, after the J-League started, they developed fast into a world-class team,” Ardiles said at the Tottenham Hotspur Legends’ Malaysia Tour 2014 press conference here yesterday.
“The J-League was set up professionally and the Japanese players started to improve because of the quality of the competition. Now, you can see Japanese players plying their trade in Europe ... and Japan are in the World Cup regularly.
“This J-League model is something that other Asian countries should follow in a bid to improve the standard of their football. I was there (in Japan) and saw if for myself how it transformed their football.”
The 1978 World Cup winner with Argentina said that youth development is another vital component that should not be overlooked in the region.
Ardiles added that he will try to instill the love of football when he mentors children from the Brickfields Community Football Programme (BCFP) with fellow Spurs ambassador Ledley King at the Persada Plus mini stadium tomorrow.
“Japan are successful because they have a proper culture instilled. They take their sports seriously and this what the other nations in the region should try to do,” said the Spurs legend.