Japan’s Wakisaka prepares for fifth IFAF World Championship

Wakisaka 2

Photo courtesy Kaz Nagatsuka

Defensive lineman Yasuo Wakisaka will return to the world stage 16 years after playing in the inaugural International Federation of American Football event in 1999 in Palermo, Italy.

Japan National Team head coach Kiyoyuki Mori confirmed that the 46-year-old Wakisaka, who plays for Panasonic in his country’s X League, will be among the 45 players traveling to Canton this summer for the 2015 IFAF World Championship.

As the only player to take part in each of the previous four world championships, the 46-year-old will add to his unique resume this summer when Japan kicks off its schedule Sunday, July 12, against either the United States or Mexico.

Japan held a final selection camp this weekend at the home of Japan’s 2007 IFAF World Championship victory, the recently refurbished Kawasaki Stadium. Japan scored 58 unanswered points in a warm-up match against a team of X-League and Keio University representatives.

Mori has selected his squad almost exclusively from the X-League ranks, naming only one college player to the roster in running back Taku Lee of Keio University.

Shintaro Saeki of Panasonic has won the kicking duties alongside 21 defensive players and 23 offensive players, including two quarterbacks, who will make the trip to Canton.

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