|Ledley King, Thomas Wong, Chief Marketing Officer AIA Malaysia Berhad and Ossie Ardiles|
This time it was back to Asia, an important area also for our shirt sponsors AIA, with a Tottenham Legends' tour with 1978 World Cup winner Ossie Ardiles and former Spurs captain Ledley King. To kick things off they attended a Tottenham Legends' Malaysia Tour 2014 press conference in Kuala Lumpur
The brilliant little Argentinian midfield star who graced White Hart Lane spoke about how Asia can develop it's football to the next level. He felt that one way for them to improve was to emulate Japan’s J-League.
He has first hand knowledge of football in Japan having managed Shimizu S-Pulse, with whom he won the J League Cup. Another former player and definitely a legend at The Lane, Steve Perryman, also had a stint managing them.
His experience extends beyond that though, Ardiles also managed Yokohama F. Marinos, Machida Zelvia and Tokyo Verdy, with whom he won the 2004 Emperor's Cup, a tournament to find the best team in the whole of Japan.
In addition he has also worked in Mexico, Croatia, Syria, Argentina, Israel, Paraguay and of course England. His knowledge of football and football cultures in different parts of the world is therefore a valuable asset to anyone looking to develop the game.
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The J-League began in 1993 and has seen Japan rise to become the dominant force in Asian football. They have become regulars at the World Cup Finals since 1998 which the 62-year-old spoke during the conference.
“Japan were nobody in world football but, after the J-League started, they developed fast into a world-class team.
“The J-League was set up professionally and the Japanese players started to improve because of the quality of the competition. Asian teams should follow how and what Japan has done to be at this place now.
"They improved a lot, not only by winning the Asian Cup but after a long journey, in 1998 Japan for the first time qualified for the World Cup. Now, you can see Japanese players plying their trade in Europe and Japan are in the World Cup regularly.
“This J-League model is something that other Asian countries should follow in a bid to improve the standard of their football. I was there (in Japan) and saw it for myself, how it transformed their football.
“Japan are successful because they have a proper culture instilled. They take their sports seriously and this what the other nations in the region should try to do."
He and former Spurs captain Ledley King, now a fellow ambassador and part-time coach himself, will be mentoring children from the Brickfields Community Football Programme (BCFP) at the Persada Plus mini stadium.
With this in mind he went on to suggest youth development was another vital component that should not be overlooked either. He said he tried to instill a love of football when he takes part in these coaching sessions.