ONO STILL IN ROTTERDAM

Despite an international call-up for Japan’s up and coming match against Cameroon in the Japanese city of Oita on 19 November, Shinji Ono is still in the Netherlands while tests continue on his knee. The player was due to jet out to Japan Monday to hook up with Zico’s squad, but a decision will now be made Tuesday, in consultation with club doctor Van Linschoten, on whether the midfielder is fit to travel to his homeland.

The general feeling is that the player would do better to remain in Rotterdam to work on his return, rather than travelling halfway across the world for a game in which he will most probably not be fit to play. Four players who did leave for the airport Monday were Danko Lazovic, Ebi Smolarek, Kike Acuña and Chong-Gug Song. Lazovic will try to help Serbia and Montenegro Under 21s overcome Norway over two legs to book a place at Euro 2004, while Ebi Smolarek will have the same in mind when he turns out for Poland Under 21s against Belarus. Acuña starts with a friendly against Uruguay Friday, before pulling on his Chile shirt for the World Cup qualifier against Paraguay on 18 November. That is provided he recovers from injury in time. For Chong-Gug Song the next international test comes in the form of a friendly, as South Korea take on Euro 2004 qualifiers Bulgaria.
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