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The Japan Pro-Footballers Association organized a charity event to help those affected by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th last year. FIFPro financially supported the JPFA Xmas Charity Soccer 2011.


‘The JPFA hosted the Xmas Charity Soccer 2011 in order to support and give some hope to the residents who were massively damaged by the devastating tsunami’, said Junichi Takano, secretary general of the JPFA.


In total 48 JPFA members - including players who play abroad - participated in the two-day event. On Thursday 22 December there were several meet and greet activities at 8 different locations in the area of the earthquake. On Friday 23 December, there was a charity match in Sendai’s Yurtec Stadium, in front of 13,889 spectators.


The Japan Stars - featuring midfielder Daisuke Matsui (Dijon, France) and defender Maya Yoshida (VVV Venlo, The Netherlands) - won 4-2 against the Tohoku Dreams,a team with players from east Japan such as Kashima Antlers midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara and Gamba Osaka midfielder Hayato Sasaki. Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund) and Atsuto Uchida (Schalke 04) performed as assistant referees as the two Japan internationals were prevented by their Bundesliga clubs from playing.


‘This is very meaningful’, said Mitsuo Ogasawara, captain of Tohoku Dreams. ‘We’ve managed to hold this game thanks to the players’ strong will and determination to make it happen. They all came here hoping to make the people happy.’


Ogasawara, a former Japan international, wants to hold similar charity matches in other quake-damaged areas. ‘It will still take time to restore people’s lives in those areas and activities of this kind will show that things can be done with continuous effort.’