Japan midfielder Makoto Hasebe has declared himself fully fit and ready to face Cameroon on Monday at the Free State Stadium. Hasebe has suffered no reaction to a back injury after making his comeback in a draw against Zimbabwe last week.
He joined the rest of the squad in a rigorous two-hour training session this afternoon at a university complex in Bloemfontein. Hasebe, who plays for Wolfsburg, said: "I feel okay and everything is going well."
He suffered the injury in a defeat by Côte d'Ivoire in a warm-up game and there were fears he might miss the opening match. His fitness is a boost for Japan, who go into the tournament in a poor run of form. That disappointing draw against Zimbabwe at least ended a run of four successive defeats.
Hasebe, who is due to link up with former England coach Steve McClaren next season, is confident they can regain that winning mentality. He said: "The last few weeks have been very hard. It has certainly not been easy. However the important thing is the first game. We have had some good training sessions and the team has a good feeling for this match."