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29/08/2011

We're aiming to keep the Cup, says Kashima’s Nakata

With the Emperor's Cup getting under way on Saturday, Kashima Antlers defender Koji Nakata said on Monday that he and his teammates will be aiming to retain the trophy.

“The tournament is in its 91st year and has great tradition,” Nakata pointed out. “We’d like to win it again this year.”
“It’s a dream for all footballers here to play in the final on January 1. It's something I aim for every year.” Kashima won the title for the fourth time last year.
Nakata’s teammate Yasushi Endo commented: “Of course, we will go for the title. The league and the Emperor’s Cup are two different competitions and we need to reset our focus when we play the Emperor’s Cup.”
“As I am from Miyagi Prefecture, I feel special about the tournament this year. I want to retain the Cup,” Endo added.
In the Emperor’s Cup, 88 teams – all the J. League teams plus qualifiers from the 47 prefectures, the All-Japan Collegiate Tournament winners and two JFL teams – will compete in the quest for the honor as the No. 1 team in the nation and a berth in next year’s AFC Champions League.
Kashima and the other J. League teams will be idle in the first round on September 3-4 before making their appearance from the second round (October 8, 10 and 12).
The third round will be held on November 16 and the fourth round will be on December 17, with Cerezo Osaka playing on December 21 if the south Osaka team win the ACL and reach the FIFA Club World Cup.
The quarterfinals will be played on December 24 with the semifinals slated for December 29. The final will take place on January 1 at the National Stadium in Tokyo.
The winners of this year’s tournament and beyond will be awarded the F.A. Silver Cup and a bonus of 100 million yen.
The Silver Cup was reproduced by the English Football Association for the JFA after the original Cup, presented by the F.A. in 1919, had to be handed over to the government during World War II.
The goalscorer in a “giant-killing” team will get the “Suruga I Dream Award” presented by special tournament sponsor Suruga Bank.