On the 24th, in the Kirin Cup between Japan and Uruguay, an unusual name stood out among the players included in the Japanese replacement list.
The player who caught the eye was Kashif Bangnagande. It was different from the usual Japanese names such as Daichi Kamada (Frankfurt), Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton), Seko Ayumu (Cereso Osaka), and Doan Ritsu (Freiburg), who started at the National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, and their skin color was different.
As it turned out, Bangguna Gande 바카라was born in 2001 to a father from Ghana and a mother from Japan, and was born again in 2001. After going through the FC Tokyo youth team, he was reborn as a regular player in the professional team this year. This is the ‘pick’ chosen by manager Hajime Moriyasu, who urgently needs a replacement for 36-year-old veteran Yuto Nagatomo, who is also a teammate of Banguna Gande, in the first A-match of the year.
This is the first time Banggunande has been selected for the A national team, but he is an ‘elite’ who has previously served as the 17-year-old, 18-year-old, 19-year-old, and 20-year-old representative. He is a friend of the same age as Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad) who shared the same highs and lows during his Tokyo Youth days. He is the same age as Lee Kang-in (Mallorca). In Japan, the characteristics of Banggunande are “a powerful interpersonal mark, active participation in attacks, and a cross with the left foot”. Although he did not play in the game, which was drawn 1-1, there is a possibility of his A-match debut in the second warm-up match against Colombia held in Osaka on the 28th.
It is not uncommon for mixed-race players to play in the Japanese national team. On this day, tall goalkeeper Daniel Schmidt (Sint Trawidon), who has a German-American father, kept the goal.
Bang or Gande’s actions should be watched in the future. Bangunagande is a member of the 2024 Paris Olympics. The Asian qualifiers for the Paris Olympics will start in September. In January next year, the U-23 Asian Cup will be held in Qatar, which serves as the final Olympic qualifier. In Asia, 3.5 are at stake. The 4th place will play a playoff against the 4th place in the African qualifier.
Currently, the Japanese under-22 national team also has Nigerian goalkeeper Leo Kokubo (Benfica). Kokubo kept the bench with number 1 in the quarterfinals of the 2022 U-23 Asian Cup with Korea held in Uzbekistan in June of last year. On this day, Hwang Seon-Hong Ho lost 0-3.