Interview with Kento Fukuda
By Deepanraj Ganesan on 24 April 2014
Since Albirex Niigata decided to set up a satellite team in Singapore, the S.League has seen the arrival of some immensely talented Japanese players. As the side refreshed its squad each year, some of the better performing players were poached by clubs in Singapore. One of those players is current Geylang International defensive rock, Kento Fukuda. The Japanese defender enjoyed a stellar first season with Albirex Niigata (S), racking up 32 appearances for the side as he helped them to their best league finish of third. It proved rewarding on the personal level as well for Kento, as he earned rave reviews for his defending in the form of a place in The New Paper’s mid-season’s best 11, published on 30th June 2013. The defender sat down with Geylang International media team for a chat about his arrival to Geylang International and his favourite local delight amongst other matters.
When did you start playing football and tell us about your journey as a professional football player?
I started playing football when I was 8 years old and since I was younger, playing football professionally was what I always wanted. I got my first professional contract with Shonan Bellmare (currently playing in the J. League Division 2) where I played for four years. It was then I received an opportunity to come to Singapore and play in the S.League with Albirex Niigata (S) and with some good performances, I earned a chance with Geylang International.
How was the experience like playing in the J.League Division 2?
The standard of football there is really good. They play speedy football and teams like to have lots of possession. Its abit like how Barcelona plays actually so there is a lot of passing and movement.
What about in Singapore?
In the S.League, teams tend to play more long balls than normal and the matches are more physical. Here there are a lot of tall players, so with more long balls, it’s harder to defend against. The players here are also bigger than that in Japan.
Can local players in Singapore play in the J. League?
I am not sure about that. J. League Division 1 and J. League Division 2 are very tough, but perhaps the players could test their skills in the lower divisions. Playing abroad always improves you as a footballer.
How did your move to Geylang International come about?
Former head coach Vedhamuthu Kanan came to watch one of my matches when I was playing for Albirex Niigata(S). After some time, he then he called me up asking me if I would like to play for Geylang International. I thought of it as a really good chance and I grabbed it.
Have you been following Albirex Niigata (S) progress this season? Who is their key player?
Katzuki Sakamoto. I watch their games now and then and as Japanese, I wish them the best for the season.
What are your thoughts on Geylang International’s chances this season?
We can win the Championship actually. I am confident of that. But, we should be in at least the top 5 with the strong squad we have.
If not for football, what would you be?
I would start my own apparel shop. I like shirts and I have an interest in designing them. So if not for football, you would see me running my own apparel shop.
Outside football, what do you do in your spare time?
Ichikawa (Yuki) and I head to town, Orchard and Somerset to do some shopping. I love to eat as well!
What is your favourite Singapore food then?
A lot actually but in particular the Chicken Rice, Mee Soto, and Chilli Crab.
Who is your Football Idol?
Hidetoshi Nakata is one of them. As a defender, I always admire Gerard Piqué of Barcelona and Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United. I am similar to them in style since I love having the ball at my feet and playing it out from the back.
Who is the best player at Geylang International?
Leonel Felice . He is very strong and a good striker who is helping the team get the goals this season
What about the best local player?
Hafiz Nor. He is a handful since he is so speedy and has good technique.
Lastly, how do you rate Japan’s chances at the World Cup in Brazil?
I am confident that Japan will make it past the group stage, perhaps in second place. But beyond that, it’s going to be tough but I hope for the best!