Despite the many typhoons that hit the country, the Okinawa Beach Soccer Championship in Onna took place in clear autumnal weather. Players and organizers were reunited and newcomers welcomed to the yearly event.
The Okinawan elimination rounds took place the previous day and 3 teams out of the 72 that competed were chosen to represent the host region, including Sol Mar Prio, a team with experience of international competition and highly rated for their technique and strategy, with promising future prospects in beach soccer.
The Ecoflag played a prominent role in this year's competition, receiving the full support of Onna and the flag was flying in the main organizers tent as well as the usual Ecoflag booth. Kumamoto representatives FC Esperanza, TEAM DI VAIO, and Nakayoshi Kai, as well as Okinawan team Sol Mar Prio wore Ecoflags on their uniforms.
Many of the games were tense and exciting and an increase in the standard of play was clearly visible. Likewise, management of the event, the ceremonies, team and organizers meeting and party had to rise to the occasion and needs to be firmly developed in order for the event to reach its full potential as a nationwide event. As an environmental event and as a sporting event, there is still a lot to do, but we will carry the lessons of this year's event into 2005.
We greatly appreciated all the efforts of the regional organizers, teams, judges and the many supporters that turned up to support the event.
Winner: Pele (Oita)
Runner up: TEAM DI VAIO (Nagasaki)
3rd Place: BONFAM (Kanagawa)
4th Place: ABF United (Oita)
(Other teams that reached the finals: Sol Mar Prio (Okinawa), SHIGE KING (Okinawa), Scorpions (Saga) and OYAJICCHI (Aomori))
Report by Hiroyoki Ito, Japan Beach Soccer Network.