Monday, March 15, 2010

Nakamura back with a bang

A lack of investment in their team over recent years means Yokohama F Marinos are unlikely to pose a serious threat to the main contenders for this year's J.League title, but the return of Shunsuke Nakamura ensured not only a win on Saturday over newly promoted Shonan Bellmare but a huge amount of media exposure for the club.

Nakamura had a hand in the first of his team's three goals against Bellmare but, even if he hadn't been so influential, it's hard to believe the Japanese TV directors would not have spent more of their time focusing on the former Celtic man than on the game.

Anyone who has had the dubious pleasure of watching sports coverage on Japanese television will attest to the frustration that comes with it. The obsession with celebrity in Japan far outstrips that in most other nations and that includes sporting events. As a result, television directors are prone to focusing more on meaningless little flicks and tricks or the gestures of one or two particular players than on aspects that have a much greater impact on the outcome of the game.

Nakamura received the full treatment on Saturday and his return will be something of a fillip for the J.League at a time when the game in Japan is threatening to stagnate. The poor performances of the national team have seen attendances and TV audiences fall for the Japan team even though the country has qualified for the World Cup.

And while Nakamura may have brought his star power to bear on the J.League once again, it's unlikely his return will see a vast improvement in the national team's fortunes over the coming three months.

No comments:

Post a Comment