The Japan Football Association on Monday said Japan’s Under-22s will now play the Kuwait senior national team in a friendly on Wednesday instead of Saudi Arabia’s U-22s, who last week were forced to pull out due to turmoil within the Saudi soccer association.
The originally scheduled match was called off Friday at the Saudi association’s request, just hours after Takashi Sekizuka’s men departed for the Middle East.
Japan will also play Bahrain’s U-22s on Feb 12.
Japan’s Under-21 team captured the Asian Games gold medal in Guangzhou, China in November after coming through tough encounters against Iran in the semifinals and the United Arab Emirates in the championship decider.
Coach Sekizuka wanted further tests against West Asian opponents as his team build toward their Asian qualifiers beginning in June for next year’s London Olympics.