Sporting Life

More to coaching than speaking the right language

Serious football is being played with sugar sachets on a table on the 22nd floor of the Oasia Hotel in Novena. Ryo Ishibashi, 25, is the translator for Singapore's new national coach Tatsuma Yoshida and he's offering me a lesson in the language of Japanese football.

He arranges the sachets as if they were players and then scribbles the words "ushirode mark" in my notebook - it is, he explains, a Japanese term about the specific positioning of a player while marking. It is not easy to grasp and this is his job: to make Yoshida, who speaks a smattering of English, understandable to his new team. In communication lies challenge.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2019, with the headline 'More to coaching than speaking the right language'. Print Edition | Subscribe