In final round of this special interview, we interviewed GK Kengo Fukudome.
In Part1, we looked back on the whole season, the process of transfer, and asked him about the game that left a impression.
Develop myself as a GK more and enhanced my values
—How was this season for you?
Fukudome It was a regrettable season, because the team’s target and my targets were to capture all 3 titles but we could not achieve any of our targets. However, this is the result of our daily work as team, so I think we have to accept it.
—You joined Albirex Niigata FC(S) this season. What were you thinking when you decided to be transferred to this team?
Fukudome I had a strong preference that I want to be transferred to another team to develop myself as a GK more and enhanced my values. At that time, I received a proposal about the transfer to Albirex Niigata FC(S), and I thought it would be very rewarding for me to play in that environment I needed, so I decided to go there.
—Have professional football leagues in Southeast Asia been on your mind for some time?
Fukudome I had some acquaintances who played in Southeast Asia and asked them about their league.
I thought myself to challenge in a new environment, so to play in a Southeast Asian team was an option.
—What were you thinking about SPL before?
Fukudome SPL has been on my mind for some time. Before I belonged to Asul Claro Numazu, I was looking for a transfer destination while training in Germany. One time, I was told by a local man who passed by. He told me that he had some acquaintances in SPL and showed me the pictures of SPL team such as Tampines. That happened to me and I became familiar with Singaporean football. After that, I researched about SPL by myself and asked ex-Albirex Niigata FC(S) player about the SPL .
—Your encounter with him made you start to be conscious of SPL unexpectedly.
Fukudome Right. After that, I joined Azul claro Numazu. After 2 years more, I decided to join Albirex Niigata FC(S). During the same period, I have not gotten in touch with him. When a few months had passed since I started playing in Singapore, I have received contact from him. He said “You were transferred to SPL, weren’t you?”. Then I could talk with him. I think a destined encounter is everywhere.
—It was a wonderful encounter. What did you think about playing in Singapore?
Fukudome I thought many teams of SPL play by utilizing individual ability rather than specializing in the strategy for the team. I felt that the team in Singapore seemed to be playing more directly for the goal, and the contact was strong.
—Specifically, what kind of situation did you think that the teams of SPL play for the purpose of getting a goal?
Fukudome This is just my humble opinion, In Japan, there are many cases when players take a point by turning a ball, but in Singapore, there are many cases when players try to get a long ball from the defense line. I feel that these are the values and characteristic of this league.
The game against Worriers in SPL (13th Leg) was a very valuable game for me.
—What was the most memorable player you’ve played?
Fukudome It is Jonathan Béhé (Worriers #9). He has a long reach and he can reach the point beyond my imagination, and the timing of shooting is unique also. I didn’t know what he will play when he has the ball. In fact, he got two goals this season against me… However, my best save of the season was to stop his heading shot in the Warriors game in SPL (13th Leg), so he was most impressive both in good and bad terms.
—What was the most memorable game you’ve participated?
Fukudome It is the game against Worriers in SPL (13th Leg). One of the reasons is that my save that I talked about was impressive, but this game was pre-emptive, so Albirex pulled it into defense. As a GK, in spite of the situation that we had encountered many Warrior’s attack, we were able to defend with no goal until the end. It was a very valuable game for me because my save led to the victory of the team. In pursuing the lead at that time, it was also good to have got all 3 points.
—It was a game of many injures. In addition, that game was the first appearance for #18 Gamu Tasaka and #19 Shunsuke Fukuda. I felt that it was very tough game.
Fukudome Correct. That is one of the reasons why the joy of winning as a team was great. That reminds me, Shunsuke gave free kick to the opponent just before the end. But as a result it was nice for me because my good highlights increased (He laughed). It was very good that he was introduced in a very tough situation I think it was important experience for him.
—We had many injury players this season, but Fukudome was able to finish the season safely without injury. Have you ever tried something?
Fukudome I think that training will only be effective if I take good care of my nutrition and rest adequately. So, what I put in my body, recovery after training and after the game were very important.
The intensity of GK training was high, I was making adjustments for the game, and as a result of the accumulation of various things, I think my body was strengthened.
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