Turkish Football News

Japanese fans want Istanbul derby time changed

Japan has been hit with a wave of Turkish football fever since Shinji Kagawa’s arrival and are hoping to tune in to watch the upcoming Galatasaray-Besiktas derby which will featured two Japan stars.

Japanese football star Shinji Kagawa’s arrival to Super Lig giants Besiktas has drawn significant attention both in Turkey and the player’s native Japan.

Kagawa enjoyed a dream debut for the Black Eagles last weekend as he scored a brace — both stunners from outside the box — just three minutes after coming on as a substitute.

The 29-year-old’s first match and presentation were widely covered by the Japanese media.

Upon his transfer to Turkey, Kagawa joined his Japan teammate Yuto Nagatomo, who plays for city rivals Galatasaray.

Nagatomo hosted Kagawa on Tuesday for a dinner in his Istanbul home. Following the dinner Kagawa said he would like to return the favor after winning the Galatasaray-Besiktas derby, which is scheduled for early May.

Nagatomo (left) and Kagawa (right).

On Wednesday, representatives of an agency that sells football broadcasts from abroad to the Japanese market made an unexpected offer to beIN SPORTS, which owns the broadcasting rights of the Turkish Super Lig, and the Turkish Football Federation (TFF).

According to the report, the offer suggested that the derby be moved to 3 p.m. Istanbul time (GMT +3) so that Japanese viewers would be able to see the showdown between two of their favorite players — Kagawa and Nagatomo.

Both Kagawa and Nagatomo were part of the Japan team that reached the round of 16 of the 2018 World Cup held in Russia last summer.

Besiktas signed Kagawa on loan from Borussia Dortmund until the end of the season with the option to sign the player permanently for €1.5 million.

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