Japan’s national team under coach Hajime Moriyasu surprised the world by winning the World Cup, defeating the powerful German and Spanish teams. Behind the scenes, it was learned that Takumi Horiike, who fought with Moriyasu in the 1993 “Doha Tragedy,” had resigned from the prestigious Juntendo University Football Club, which he had coached. The university, taking seriously the “power harassment allegations” and “allegations that he ordered the players to take defeat” against Mr. Horiike, ordered him to “have no contact with the members of the soccer team,” effectively dismissing him from the position.
The men in the front row, far left, shoulder to shoulder. The second from the left, number 17, is current national team coach Moriyasu Mori, who was in charge of the volant team during the Doha tragedy in 1993. To his left is Horiike. The two men, shoulder-to-shoulder, are now 30 years apart, and their lives are now divided. A soccer journalist revealed, “He was a member of the prestigious Jundai Kekkaikan Club.
In October, the Weekly Bunshun reported allegations of Horiike’s persistent “power harassment” of players, and FRIDAY Digital reported allegations that he “instructed” players to “lose the Amino-Vital Cup,” which leads to the Prime Minister’s Cup, in 2016. In addition, FRIDAY Digital also reported “allegations of instructions” to players at the Amino-Vital Cup leading to the Prime Minister’s Cup in 2016.
Jundai has avoided giving a clear response to the press, saying, ‘We have nothing to say at this time,’ but it seems that they subsequently told Horiike that he was not allowed to have any contact with the members of the soccer team.
As the director of the soccer club, he has no contact with the club members, so naturally he cannot directly instruct them. He was pulled out of the management of the club by force and was effectively dismissed from his position. The current team management was taken over by head coach Shinichi Tono, who took over the team on an interim basis, but the team lacked cohesion under the dictatorial leadership of former coach Horiike, and was relegated to the Kanto University Soccer League Second Division this fall. However, according to Jundai officials, there was no formal apology or greeting from Horiike to the players, and there was no indication that a substantive investigation was conducted by the university. The appointment of Horiike’s successor as coach has not been announced to the players and remains unclear.
Mr. Horiike is a former Japanese national soccer player from Shizuoka Prefecture. When he was at Shimizu Higashi High School, he was known as one of the “Three Crows” along with Kenta Hasegawa (current J1 Nagoya manager) and Katsumi Oenoki (Shimizu S-Pulse GM). He was also selected for the Japan national team. He was a member of the “Doha Team” that won the 1994 World Cup in the U.S. with coach Moriyasu, who led Japan to the World Cup in Qatar, as well as with Tomoyoshi Miura, Rui Ramos, and others.
After his retirement, he worked as a commentator on “Yabecchi F.C.: Japan Soccer Cheering Manifesto” and was one of the “J-League Legends” who worked hard to popularize soccer with a fresh smile. As mentioned above, Horiike has been accused of power harassment on a daily basis, and of saying to his players in the locker room before an official match, “Don’t win this game! Lose! Okay?” in the locker room where the players were gathered for official games.
The Amino-Vital Cup was positioned as the Kanto preliminary round of the Prime Minister’s Cup, and the top eight schools qualified for the Prime Minister’s Cup. At the time, Toin University of Yokohama, Meiji University, and Waseda University were strong in university soccer, and the fifth, sixth, and seventh representatives were likely to face those three schools at an early stage. If the team lost the match against NITS and finished in 8th place, they would not face those three schools until the semifinals, and this could be seen as a “strategy” to advance to the top of the Prime Minister’s Cup tournament.
However, if this statement was true, it would have violated the intentional “instruction to withdraw from the tournament,” and if the same action had been approved by the J-League, it would have been viewed as a serious act “responsible for bringing into question the maintenance of trust and integrity not only in soccer but also in sports,” and severe punishment, including revocation of club licenses, would have been awaited.
Horiike’s aim itself may have been on target, as Juntendo University finished runner-up in the Prime Minister’s Cup, but the players who had been instructed to “lose” left an unsettled feeling in their hearts, so after the tournament, the players who were enrolled at the time offered to boycott coach Horiike’s training sessions with the university.
However, Mr. Horiike, who resigned from the kickball team, is still registered at the university as an associate professor in the School of Sports and Health Science at Juntendo University, where he teaches an elective class called “Soccer. He teaches an elective class called “Soccer,” and all the players in the kickball team are enrolled in it. A soccer journalist revealed, “The class, as the name suggests, is called ‘Soccer.
As the name suggests, Mr. Horiike teaches the players how to play soccer. I heard that the students can choose between soccer and basketball. Some have questioned the prohibition of contact between the “coach and players” but not between the “associate professor and students.
In the past, when Mr. Horiike was a regular coach, he would leave the preparation for classes, the preparation and washing of equipment, and even the clean-up to the members of the kickball team, making them laugh at their efforts. However, no students seem to respond to the smiles after the “ugly stories” that have been reported so far.
FRIDAY Digital asked Juntendo University about Horiike’s resignation, his successor as director, and the fact that he has remained at the university as an associate professor after his retirement, and as a result is still coaching the kickball team members, but no official response was given by the deadline.
Incidentally, the page introducing Mr. Horiike at Juntendo University includes the following description of the goals, contents, and methods of his research
The goal of this seminar is to “contribute to the world of soccer,” and to develop the ability to analyze and research the game of soccer from various angles (the science of soccer), focusing on technical and tactical analysis (abbreviated below).
Before contributing to the world of soccer, it would be a waste of time and energy if Mr. Horiike were to “leave” the stage of coaching top players, as the hearts of the club members would leave his side. In fact, he has fallen far behind Moriyasu, who is three years younger than him and has told those around him that he considers his coaching duties to be a contribution to society.
While his former colleague from Japan’s national team, who was aiming for a World Cup he had not yet seen, was surprising soccer fans around the world in Qatar, Horiike remained silent in a corner of Chiba, and the university showed no intention of finding a substantive solution. The fog hanging over the prestigious football club, which has produced numerous players, is unlikely to lift for some time to come.