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Nov 8, 2005

Sydney FC's Japanese import jets in

Kazuyoshi "Kazu" Miura, the A-League's first guest player, strode into Sydney on Tuesday.

In tow were a pack of Japanese media set to report virtually every movement of their country's most decorated and high profile football star during his two month stint with Sydney FC.

With Australia's great push into Asia officially beginning next year, Sydney got a jump on the rest of the A-League by securing the services of the former Japanese international.

Nicknamed "Kazu", the 38-year-old scored 58 goals in 91 games for Japan, played for some of the biggest clubs in Brazil and Europe and won the inaugural Asian player of the year award in 1994.

Japanese television network NTV has already paid to broadcast Miura's four A-League games with Sydney FC, starting with Sunday's clash with Queensland Roar at Aussie Stadium.

Miura will also be the only homegrown player to feature at the Club World Championship in Japan next month, securing Sydney a massive following for the tournament.

The 38-year-old was mobbed by media at Sydney airport before being handed his new club shirt by Sydney coach Pierre Littbarski during a press conference later in the day.

It was one of two major soccer press conferences called in Sydney.

The first announcing National Australia Bank as a new major sponsor for the Socceroos - less than a week out from their World Cup play-off with Uruguay - drew about 30 media.

Miura's first press call attracted nearly double that figure, including around 30 Japanese journalists, photographers and cameramen. At least half of them arrived on the same plane as Miura.

Sydney FC chief executive Tim Parker said the club had received between 20 and 30 Japanese media requests each day since word spread Miura could join the team on loan from J-League outfit Yokohama, Littbarski's former club.

"And it they are representing the interest of Japan then the interest is enormous," Parker said.

"And that's great for Sydney FC and great for the Club World Championship as well."

Miura joins former Manchester United star Dwight Yorke at the club, giving Sydney the most decorated strike force in the A-League.

While saying he hopes to enjoy his stay in Sydney, Miura insisted he was not here for a holiday.

"I've heard from Mr Littbarski the A-League is not so easy, it's a very tough league to win in, but I'm going to try to contribute all my experience and all my effort to help the team win," Miura said through a translator.

Littbarski played and coached against Miura in the J-League during the 1990s, and had been trying to secure his services since January.

"We had a good relationship when I started in the J-League... most (of the) time when we played against him we lost and he scored, so hopefully he will score now for Sydney FC,"Littbarski said.

Miura said Littbarski's great effort to bring him to Sydney was the main reason why he joined the club.

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