Kumagai slams Asian football chiefs over venue change. GETTY IMAGES

Five-time Champions League winner and World Cup champion Saki Kumagai is disappointed with the slow pace of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The venue of Japan's qualifier for the Paris Olympics was moved from Pyongyang, North Korea, to Jeddah a few days ago.

Saki Kumagai, one of Japan's most prominent women's footballers, has lashed out at Asian football's governing body after they moved the away leg of their clash with North Korea from Pyongyang to Jeddah a few days ago. Uncertainty surrounded the match until Monday night, when the AFC confirmed the change of venue to the Japan Football Association less than a week before kick-off. 

"This kind of thing can't happen. The AFC has a responsibility to look after the players", said World champion Saki Kumagai, referring to the late announcement. The player of AS Roma player spoke to reporters in Japan on Tuesday before flying to Saudi Arabia the following day. "As players, it's our job to prepare for the game, but the organisers definitely have a responsibility to make sure we're in our best condition," Kumagai added. 

Saki Kumagai is one of Japan's most prominent women's footballers. GETTY IMAGES
Saki Kumagai is one of Japan's most prominent women's footballers. GETTY IMAGES

The Japan Football Association asked the Asian Football Confederation if it would be possible to postpone the first leg the first leg of the tie due to a lack of operational transparency and a shortage of flights to Pyongyang. However, Kumagai was unhappy with the length of time taken to respond. "The most important thing is not to let this stress us out and to concentrate on the game," she said. The first leg between North Korea and Japan will be played in Jeddah on Saturday 24, with the return leg taking place in Tokyo on Wednesday 28.