Explainer: The JFA Pledge for 2050 — Japan’s road map to winning the World Cup
The JFA Pledge for 2050, which lays out the path for Japan to win the football World Cup, is a deeply thought out project, and going by the current trajectory of the team, appears far more feasible than most people would believe.
The dream project was planned in 2005.
The Nation explains the origin of this ambitious project.
Project: Dream Courage to Achieve
Japan set the ball rolling in 2005, three years after hosting the 2002 World Cup. In its history, Japan had played in the World Cup only two times at that stage.
The project set a target of winning the World Cup by 2050. Japan still has 28 years to achieve the goal.
"The JFA Declaration, 2005"
"The JFA Pledge for 2015" had three key objectives to achieve in 2015:
- Japan Football Association (JFA) becomes one of the top 10 organisations in the world
- Create 5 million football fans and personnel (footballers, referees, and trainers)
- Japan's national football team becomes one of the top 10 teams in the world
"The JFA Declaration, 2050"
The pledge came with two important goals to achieve by 2050.
“By 2050, we will realise two key objectives that will allow all to share a special joy:
- The Football Family of Japan, the fans with a true love for football, will number 10 million strong.”
- We will host the Fifa World Cup in Japan, and the Japan national team will be the champion.”
This was the pledge by the JFA in 2005.
Last year, the JFA also came up with a long-term plan for 100 years to create 100 professional teams by 2092.
Former Thai footballer Witthaya Laohakul, who coached a J-League team, said that Japan was serious about making a structure for the development system before they got to play in the World Cup.
“During the 1990 World Cup in Italy, Japan Football Association sent coaches of the Japan Football League; two people from each team — the head coach and assistant coach including me — to venues in Italy, to analyse matches on how to reach the World Cup. Then, [we] came back to analyse and develop the system to reach the World Cup,” Witthaya said.
Japan has now become a regular at the World Cup having qualified seven consecutive times.
Twenty-one of Japan’s 26-man squad at the 2022 World Cup played in professional leagues in Europe.
Eight of them played in Germany’s Bundesliga before they won the first match against Germany on Wednesday.
Currently, Japan have almost achieved all their short-term goals with only the top goal — the World Cup — still to be attained.
However, considering their rapid rate of progress they might not have to wait until 2050 to hoist the World Cup.