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S.League's "Pray For Japan" with Hidetoshi Nakata

Fans came early to queue for the tickets for the "Pray for Japan" match starring Japanese superstar Hidetoshi Nakata
Fans came early to queue for the tickets

With her group of five being first in the queue (pictured above), a Japanese expatriate who gave her name as "A I" told this blogger they had been there since 5.30am outside the ticketing booth of the Jalan Besar Stadium.

"Because we want to show our support to our fellow countrymen devastated by the recent earthquake back home in Japan." said the bespectacled lady who and her friends decided to make the trip in the early hours after they failed to secure tickets at another sale outlet located at Albirex Niigata (Singapore) office the previous day.

According to an Albirex official, their ticket allocation was sold out within one and a half hours after the sale commenced.

6,000 fans turned up for good cause at JBS for the "Pray for Japan" charity match
6,000 fans turned up for good cause at JBS

With the pulling power of Japanese football legends such as Hidetoshi Nakata, Masaaki Sawanobori and Masakiyo Maezono is no doubt that a charity match like this would be a hot seller.

SELL-OUT CROWDS WITNESSED THE BRILLIANCE OF THE LEGEND

And it proved to be the case that all available tickets were snapped up on the day before the match something that had not happened since the YOG matches last year.

Featuring a S.League All-Stars selection of players from various S.League clubs, the hastily-assembled team coached by SAFFC coach Richard Bok with the assistance from Home United's assistant coach S Subramani found themselves down with a goal in the 10th minute by TAKE ACTION With Albirex Niigata Selection's Tatsuro Inui.

Obadin Aikhena's header levelled the scores in the 20th minute in the "Pray for Japan" match
Obadin Aikhena's header levelled the scores in the 20th minute

While Gombak's defender Obadin Aikhena's header (pictured above) levelled the scores in the 20th minute, it was not enough to deny the Japanese from snatching the lead before adjourned for the interval through Bruno Castanheira in the 36th minute.

It was the second half that the sell-out crowds were waiting for as the crowd-puller Hidetoshi Nakata made his appearance after the interval and didn't lose any of his brilliance despite retiring from the scene five years ago and scored on the hour mark to make it 5-1 (pictured below).

Hidetoshi Nakata hit one attempt past Emmeric Ong in the "Pray for Japan" match
Hidetoshi Nakata hit one attempt past Emmeric Ong

“It was kind of hard for me today since the last time I played was five years ago,” said Nakata after the match.

NOT ABOUT THE RESULT BUT THE ACT OF CONCERN TO THOSE IN NEED

The match eventually ended 7-2 in favour of the Japanese selection side, but what matters is not the scorelines but the appreciation and willingness to come forward to help.

Hidetoshi Nakata showing his appreciation for the huge support in the "Pray for Japan" match
Nakata showing his appreciation for the huge support

Together with his teammates, Nakata (pictured above, in stripes) shows his appreciation to the crowds after the end of the match.

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