Japanese Non-league Football News

Sagawa Printing Rewrite The (Coaching) Manual
Sagawa Printing, fresh from an eleventh place finish in the 2005 JFL, have made the stunning announcement that their new coach is to be none other than Hideki Matsunaga. Twelve months ago, Matsunaga had just made the step up to the big time with Vissel Kobe, having developed a reputation for his fine work as coach at Ventforet Kofu and previously been on the staff at Verdy Kawasaki and Shimizu S-Pulse. But he was rapidly - many would say unfairly - fired after Kobe's sluggish start to the season and now finds himself working his way back into the game at a far lower level.

So with the 2006 season just around the corner expected to be a nailbiter for many outfits at JFL level, it will truly be remarkable if the Kansai-based Sagawa Printing were transformed into contenders - but Matsunaga might just be the man to do it.

12 Jan 06 - The very delicious Hideki Matsunaga

The very delicious Hideki Matsunaga

Zweigen Decidin'
The Ishikawa FC organisation - previously mentioned here on JNFN as having been established towards the end of 2005, in order to oversee what's hoped to be the development of a J-League team in Ishikawa prefecture - have announced the name of the new club that will participate in the Hokushinetsu League 2006. Zweigen Kanazawa will evidently be based on the old Kanazawa SC side which failed so dramatically in the final stages of last season to make the Regional League Championship Winners Play-off for JFL entry - and indeed slipped into third position in the Hokushinetsu League Division 1 behind fellow J-League wannabes Nagano Elsa and Japan Soccer College, part of the youth set-up of nearby J1 outfit Albirex Niigata.

12 Jan 06 - Zweigen Kanazawa

Oooh, lovely - a nice Gothic font they've chosen

The name Zweigen comes from the inevitably bizarre amalgamation of the German words "zwei" (two) and "gehen" (to go), indicating the united advancement or progress of the team and the supporters. Both of these factors exist in something of a grey area at the moment, seeing as the selection process for squad members isn't scheduled to take place until 22nd January and are therefore some considerable distance from playing an actual match in front of any actual fans. Nevertheless, this hasn't stopped Ishikawa FC officials from lining up smaller sponsorship deals with the likes of Kirin Beer and Puma Japan. They've also succeeded in signing their very first pro player in the shape of local lad Masateru Tsujita, a 21-year-old defender tempted back to his home town by the prospect of helping to bring pro football to Kanazawa from the bright lights of Omiya Ardija reserves.

While with such backing it seems possible that Zweigen will be able to muscle themselves into a place among the frontrunners of teams challenging for a JFL place, the name of Grulla Morioka will immediately spring to mind as a well-financed team out in the regions of Japan that last year failed to make it out of their own local Tohoku League and into the JFL. A question mark now hangs over the future of Grulla, while a further cautionary tale dates back to 2004, when Okinawa Kariyushi's inability to win the Kyushu League meant that they subsequently fell apart. The more immediate question, though, is perhaps not what will happen to Zweigen, but rather to fellow Ishikawa prefecture club Ferverosa - another team at least notionally aiming at the J-League, but whose short- to medium-term future must be under some considerable doubt as the smart money for the local J-League franchise has suddenly shifted elsewhere.
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