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JFL Round 7 - Saturday Scores
Not exactly a goal frenzy in the three JFL fixtures to take place on Saturday, but nevertheless still action of some significance to report. Joint leaders Alo's Hokuriku may have handed the initiative at the top of the table to near rivals YKK AP, as they could only manage a goalless draw at home to SC Tottori. It was the same scoreline at the bottom, too, for FC Ryukyu against Honda Lock, whilst FC Kariya gained their first three points of the year by beating JEF Club 3-1.

29 Apr 06 - Alo's Hokuriku fans feast on their team's 0-0 draw with SC Tottori

Alo's Hokuriku fans feast on their team's 0-0 draw with SC Tottori

Alo's Hokuriku 0-0 SC Tottori
JEF Club 1-3 FC Kariya
FC Ryukyu 0-0 Honda Lock

1 Alo's 19 (+17)
2 YKK AP 18 (+18)
3 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 16 (+16)
4 Honda FC 16 (+10)
5 Tochigi SC 14 (+6)
6 Rosso Kumamoto 13 (+4)
7 Yokogawa Musashino 12 (+7)
8 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 8 (+2)
9 Arte Takasaki 7 (-4)
10 Sony Sendai 6 (-3)
11 JEF Club 6 (-4)
12 SC Tottori 5 (-5)
13 Mitsubishi Mizushima 4 (-10)
14 FC Kariya 4 (-12)
15 Ryutsu Keizai University 3 (-9)
16 FC Ryukyu 2 (-7)
17 Sagawa Printing 2 (-8)
18 Honda Lock 2 (-18)

29 Apr 06 - JEF Club v FC Kariya in the rain

JEF Club v FC Kariya in the rain
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All Change At Arte
Arte Takasaki have sacked their Korean-born coach Kim Guan Ho following the team's poor start to the JFL season, which has seen the ambitious club take just seven points in the first six matches to lie eleven points off the leaders already. Kim, a former North Korean international, coached Tokyo's Korea University team before moving to Gunma in the close season, but has now been replaced at Takasaki by goalkeeping coach Kazuyoshi Hamaguchi.

26 Apr 06 - Kazuyoshi Hamaguchi

Kazuyoshi Hamaguchi
Tohoku Division 2(N) - Result
The 2006 Tohoku League season started in a low-key way with a single fixture on Sunday in Division 2 (North), between last year's divisional winners Tono Club from Iwate prefecture and newly-promoted Akita Prefectural League winners TDK Shinwakai, a team mainly consisting of former TDK Akita players. Despite the fact that they won all five of their home matches in 2005's league competition, Tono were held to a draw in their first game of this year.

Tono Club 1-1 TDK Shinwakai
Kyushu League - Round 4
Championship favourites V Varen Nagasaki triumphed in their local derby match against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki on Sunday, but still find themselves in third place in the Kyu league table. Although V Varen do have a game in hand on some of their rivals, Volca Kagoshima and Nippon Steel Oita have maintained their 100% records and thus hold the top two positions. It was outsiders New Wave Kitakyushu's turn for a week off in the nine-team fixture list, but they return to action next week with a crunch match aganst Volca which, if they lose, more or less confirms the league as a three-horse race for 2006. At the bottom, the ex-Fukuoka University students of Nanakuma Tombies were beaten 5-1 at home by an ecstatic Osumi NIFS United - which means that Nanakuma, Mitsubishi and Kaiho Bank SC have yet to get off the mark.

23 Apr 06 - Kyu League Merchandise Special, pt 1 - a V Varen Nagasaki flag

Kyu League Merchandise Special, pt 1 - a V Varen Nagasaki flag

Sun 23 Apr: Kaiho Bank SC 1-3 Volca Kagoshima
Sun 23 Apr: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki 0-3 V Varen Nagasaki
Sun 23 Apr: Nanakuma Tombies 1-5 Osumi NIFS United
Sun 23 Apr: Okinawa Kariyushi 2-3 Nippon Steel Oita

1 Volca Kagoshima 12 (+10)
2 Nippon Steel Oita 12 (+8)
3 V Varen Nagasaki 9 (+12)
4 New Wave Kitakyushu 6 (+3)
5 Okinawa Kariyushi 6 (-1)
6 Osumi NIFS United 3 (-5)
7 Kaiho Bank SC 0 (-8)
8 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki 0 (-9)
9 Nanakuma Tombies 0 (-10)

23 Apr 06 - Nanakuma Tombies, Osumi NIFS and a linesman all run around

Nanakuma Tombies, Osumi NIFS and a linesman all run around
Shikoku League - Round 3
Three games in and the Shikoku League is beginning to emerge as being far more competitive this year than has been the case over recent seasons. Title holders Nangoku Kochi beat Tokushima-based Alex SC 3-1 but lie only in fourth, two points behind Sanyo Electric Tokushima and leaders Kamatamare Sanuki, for whom Hiroshi Kato netted twice against Sanwa Club. Ehime Shimanami dropped points in a 1-1 draw at home to Tokushima Vortis Amateur to move down to third.

23 Apr 06 - Sanyo Electric Tokushima in white overcome Ventana AC

Sanyo Electric Tokushima in white overcome Ventana AC

Sun 23 Apr: Alex SC 1-3 Nangoku Kochi
Sun 23 Apr: Ehime Shimanami 1-1 Tokushima Vortis Amateur
Sun 23 Apr: Sanwa Club 0-3 Kamatamare Sanuki
Sun 23 Apr: Ventana AC 0-2 Sanyo Electric Tokushima

1 Kamatamare Sanuki 9 (+7)
2 Sanyo Electric Tokushima 9 (+6)
3 Ehime Shimanami 7 (+8)
4 Nangoku Kochi 7 (+3)
5 Tokushima Vortis Amateur 1 (-4)
6 Sanwa Club 1 (-4)
7 Alex SC 0 (-7)
8 Ventana AC 0 (-9)

23 Apr 06 - Ehime Shimanami go close against Tokushima Vortis Amateur

Ehime Shimanami go close against Tokushima Vortis Amateur
Kanto League - Round 2 Scores
The top three of the early season Kanto League Division 1 table has a spectacularly unlikely look to it just at present, as last year's relegation near-misses Yaita SC lead promoted side Toshiba Fuchu on goal difference, with Yokohama Sports & Culture Club trailing just behind them. All achieved good wins in Sunday's fixtures, Toshiba's 4-3 with Saitama SC being the match of the round. 2005 champions Luminozo Sayama needed an own goal to help them overcome Hanno Bruder and sneak into fourth as a result.

23 Apr 06 - Hanno Bruder in blue take on Luminozo Sayama

Hanno Bruder in blue take on Luminozo Sayama

FC Machida Zelvia continue their blistering start to the Division 2 campaign with a 6-2 thrashing of Aries FC, the same score by which Hitachi Tochigi Uva beat All Kamisu SC to put last week's battering by Machida behind them.

Division 1

Hanno Bruder 1-2 Luminozo Sayama
MSDF Atsugi Marcus 0-3 YSCC
Toshiba Fuchu 4-3 Saitama SC
Yaita SC 3-1 Toho Titanium

1 Yaita SC 6 (+3)
2 Toshiba Fuchu 6 (+2)
3 YSCC 4 (+3)
4 Luminozo Sayama 3 (-)
5 Saitama SC 1 (-1)
6 Hanno Bruder 1 (-1)
7 Toho Titanium 1 (-2)
8 MSDF Atsugi Marcus 0 (-4)

23 Apr 06 - Ex-Ventforet Kofu defender Kazuki Tsuda in action for FC Machida Zelvia

Ex-Ventforet Kofu defender Kazuki Tsuda in action for FC Machida Zelvia against Aries FC

Division 2

All Kamisu SC 2-6 Hitachi Tochigi Uva
FC Machida Zelvia 6-2 Aries FC
Furukawa Electrics Chiba 2-1 Kanagawa Teachers
Nirasaki Astros 2-2 Ome FC

1 FC Machida Zelvia 6 (+9)
2 Nirasaki Astros 4 (+2)
3 Hitachi Tochigi Uva 3 (-1)
4 Furukawa Electrics Chiba 3 (-1)
5 Ome FC 2 (-)
6 Kanagawa Teachers 1 (-1)
7 All Kamisu SC 1 (-1)
8 Aries FC 1 (-4)
Hokushinetsu League - Round 3 - Matsumoto Stunner As JSC Hit Ten
None of the Regional Leagues across Japan are looking more potent than Hokushinetsu at present, with a stunning number of goals and a remarkable result in Sunday's third round of the Division 1 programme. Top of the table are Japan Soccer College, who made it nineteen scored in just two home matches with their 10-1 annihilation of Teihens FC - but potentially far more significant was Matsumoto Yamaga Club's narrow 1-0 win at cash-rich Zweigen Kanazawa thanks to midfielder Teruyoshi Fukae's effort late in the first half, which keeps his newly-promoted side on maximum points and immediately puts Zweigen - pre-season hot favourites for promotion - on to the backfoot.

23 Apr 06 - A rubbish picture of Zweigen Kanazawa against Matsumoto Yamaga

A rubbish picture of Zweigen Kanazawa against Matsumoto Yamaga

2005 champions Nagano Elsa are moving back into contention, themselves running seven past Ueda Gentian, but bottom of the division at present are Niigata University of Management. They lost 5-1 at Fervorosa - for whom striker Yusuke Kawada picked up a hat-trick - and have now conceded eighteen times in the three games.

Maruoka Phoenix lost both their 100% record and their place at the top of Division 2 as they were well beaten at TOP Niigata - but taking over in pole position are FC Kanazu, 3-0 winners over relegated side FC Antelope. Toyama Shinjo Club, who just missed out on a place in Division 1 when they drew in a promotion / relegation play-off against Niigata University of Management, picked up their first points of 2006 with a 2-1 win over Nissei Resin to move off the bottom of the table.

Division 1

Fervorosa 5-1 Niigata University of Management
Japan Soccer College 10-1 Teihens FC
Nagano Elsa 7-0 Ueda Gentian
Zweigen Kanazawa 0-1 Matsumoto Yamaga Club

1 Japan Soccer College 9 (+20)
2 Matsumoto Yamaga Club 9 (+6)
3 Zweigen Kanazawa 6 (+13)
4 Nagano Elsa 6 (+9)
5 Fervorosa 4 (+1)
6 Teihens FC 1 (-16)
7 Ueda Gentian 0 (-16)
8 Niigata University of Management 0 (-17)

23 Apr 06 - Valiente Toyama fans cheering on the lads against LionPower Komatsu

Valiente Toyama fans cheering on the lads against LionPower Komatsu

Division 2

FC Antelope 0-3 FC Kanazu
TOP Niigata 3-0 Maruoka Phoenix
Toyama Shinjo Club 2-1 Nissei Resin
Valiente Toyama 0-1 LionPower Komatsu

1 FC Kanazu 7 (+6)
2 TOP Niigata 7 (+4)
3 Maruoka Phoenix 6 (+1)
4 Valiente Toyama 4 (-)
5 LionPower Komatsu 4 (-)
6 FC Antelope 3 (-3)
7 Toyama Shinjo Club 3 (-5)
8 Nissei Resin 0 (-3)
JFL Round 6 - Sunday Results
26 Apr 06 - Sagawa Osaka's Sho Gokyu battles against the Sagawa Tokyo defence

Sagawa Osaka's Sho Gokyu battles against the Sagawa Tokyo defence

The top of the JFL is now dominated by Toyama prefecture-based clubs, following the failure of previous leaders Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo to retain their 100% record - a 2-2 draw at company rivals Sagawa Kyubin Osaka in front of more than 5000 fans has let YKK AP and Alo's Hokuriku in to the top two spots, the former shading it with a goal difference superior by just one.

In Sunday's fixtures, however, YKK actually fell behind at lowly FC Kariya, but hit back to win 3-1, including a sixth of the season from Hiroki Kishida. Alo's beat Ryutsu Keizai University 3-0 and their front pairing of Naoki Ishibashi and Yoshio Kitagawa were both on target again, all three goals coming in the first half hour. Honda FC picked up an easy victory at Sagawa Printing to stay just a couple of points off the lead, but Tochigi SC needed an equaliser nine minutes from time to stop hosts SC Tottori from picking up their first win of the season so far.

22 Apr 06 - Ryutsu Keizai University prior to their game with Alo's Hokuriku

Ryutsu Keizai University prior to their game with Alo's Hokuriku

Towards the bottom of the table, Honda Lock conceded three goals in a disastrous second half at home to JEF Club, while promoted FC Ryukyu managed their first point of their JFL lives in a 0-0 draw at Mitsubishi Mizushima.

FC Kariya 1-3 YKK AP
Honda Lock 0-3 JEF Club
Mitsubishi Mizushima 0-0 FC Ryukyu
Ryutsu Keizai University 0-3 Alo's Hokuriku
Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 2-2 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo
Sagawa Printing 1-4 Honda FC
SC Tottori 1-1 Tochigi SC

23 Apr 06 - Shinya Shirakawa on the attack for Honda Lock against JEF Club

Shinya Shirakawa on the attack for Honda Lock against JEF Club


1 YKK AP 18 (+18)
2 Alo's Hokuriku 18 (+17)
3 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 16 (+16)
4 Honda FC 16 (+10)
5 Tochigi SC 14 (+6)
6 Rosso Kumamoto 13 (+4)
7 Yokogawa Musashino 12 (+7)
8 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 8 (+2)
9 Arte Takasaki 7 (-4)
10 JEF Club 6 (-2)
11 Sony Sendai 6 (-3)
12 SC Tottori 4 (-5)
13 Mitsubishi Mizushima 4 (-10)
14 Ryutsu Keizai University 3 (-9)
15 Sagawa Printing 2 (-8)
16 FC Ryukyu 1 (-7)
17 FC Kariya 1 (-14)
18 Honda Lock 1 (-18)

Top Scorers:

9 Tetsuya Okubo (Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo)
7 Kodai Suzuki (Honda FC)
6 Hiroki Kishida (YKK AP)
5 Kentaro Yoshida (Tochigi SC)
5 Naoki Ishibashi (Alo's Hokuriku)
5 Yoshio Kitagawa (Alo's Hokuriku)
5 Yosuke Kobayashi (Yokogawa Musashino)

26 Apr 06 - Tetsuya Hori puts SC Tottori one up against Tochigi SC

Tetsuya Hori puts SC Tottori one up against Tochigi SC
JFL Saturday Scores - Round 6
The teams competing in the JFL this season are continuing to do a remarkably efficient job at dividing the league table into two more or less equal halves, something that became yet more the case due to the two fixtures played on Saturday. Rosso Kumamoto are now looking increasingly strong in sixth place thanks to their first away win of the year, 2-0 at Arte Takasaki - J-League hopefuls on paper, but a side whose results so far on the pitch are a long way away from the standard needed to earn them a place among the pros. Yokogawa Musashino were the day's other winners, ex-Urawa Reds forward Yosuke Kobayashi netting his fifth of the season in a 2-1 win over Sony Sendai to go seventh in the division, just three points off the lead.

Arte Takasaki 0-2 Rosso Kumamoto
Yokogawa Musashino 2-1 Sony Sendai

22 Apr 06 - The look of wide-eyed horror of Arte Takasaki fans, as they realise that - once again - their team aren't good enough to go for a place in the J-League

The look of wide-eyed horror of Arte Takasaki fans, as they realise that - once again - their team aren't good enough to go for a place in the J-League
Kansai League Scores - Round 2
2005 Kansai League champions Banditonce Kobe are the early leaders of the race for the 2006 title, as a goal and two assists from former Yokohama FC striker Masato Ishida helped them to a potentially vital 4-2 win against ambitious newly-promoted side FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu. Last year's top challengers, Kobe FC 1970 and Ain Food, are both in the bottom half - and although Kobe squeezed past Takada FC 3-2 to pick up their first points of the year, Ain lost 2-1 at AS Laranja Kyoto and are still seeking their first points of the year.

In Division 2, relegated side FC Kyoto BAMB 1993 move to the top of the table thanks to a 3-1 win at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe, but level on points with them are Hermano Osaka - who also came down from the top flight at the end of 2005 - and Technonet Osaka, 3-2 winners at Osaka-based student outfit Riseisha FC. Down at the bottom and still pointless after two games are Kohga School, who were beaten 4-2 by Kihoku Football Group.

22 Apr 06 - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe before their game with FC Kyoto BAMB

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe before their game with FC Kyoto BAMB


Division 1

AS Laranja Kyoto 2-1 Ain Food
FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu 2-4 Banditonce Kobe
Kyoto Shiko Club 0-2 Sanyo Electric Sumoto
Takada FC 2-3 Kobe FC 1970

1 Banditonce Kobe 6 (+4)
2 Sanyo Electric Sumoto 6 (+3)
3 FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu 3 (+1)
4 Takada FC 3 (+1)
5 AS Laranja Kyoto 3 (-)
6 Kobe FC 1970 3 (-2)
7 Ain Food 0 (-3)
8 Kyoto Shiko Club 0 (-4)


Division 2

Kihoku Football Group 4-2 Kohga School
Kobe FC Senior C 2-3 Hermano Osaka
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe 1-3 FC Kyoto BAMB 1993
Riseisha FC 2-3 Technonet Osaka

1 FC Kyoto BAMB 1993 6 (+4)
2 Technonet Osaka 6 (+3)
3 Hermano Osaka 6 (+2)
4 Kihoku Football Group 3 (-)
5 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe 3 (-1)
6 Riseisha FC 0 (-2)
7 Kobe FC Senior C 0 (-3)
8 Kohga School 0 (-3)
JFL News Update
Teenage striker Ken Matsumoto has joined parent organisation JEF United from JFL newcomers JEF Club... JEF United beat league leaders Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 3-0 in a friendly on Wednesday... on the same day, Sagawa Printing lost 5-1 to Kyoto Purple Sanga, defender Masahiro Kuzuno getting the JFL strugglers' goal... and on Thursday, Honda FC were beaten 3-0 by local students Shizuoka Industrial University.
From Yamaguchi To The J-League, pt 2
Regular readers may recall an article a couple of months or so ago on JNFN outlining the Yamaguchi Prefectural FA's plans to introduce into their area a club that they hope will act as a vehicle to bring professional football to their far-flung part of Japan.

On the back of habitual Chugoku League strugglers Yamaguchi Teachers, the new team has recently been re-launched under the name Renofa Yamaguchi, which - as will no doubt be immediately obvious to most observers - is a combination of the words "renovation", "fight" and "fine", and was apparently felt to be the best of no fewer than 615 suggestions received from all over Japan.

Renofa's first-team squad has been assembled and club management are currently hard at work putting together a reserve team that will participate at the giddy heights of the Yamaguchi Prefectural League Division 4. The all-important Chugoku League campaign, however, begins on 30th April with one of the toughest fixtures of the year - away at fellow promotion hopefuls Fagiano Okayama.
Tokachi Fairsky
With the start of the Hokkaido League season fast approaching, newly-promoted from the so-called Block Leagues that exist under the Regional level in Japan's northernmost island are Rude Boys - or at least they were until a matter of a week or so ago, when an announcement was made concerning the establishment of Tokachi Fairsky. Based in the small city of Obihiro, east of the Hokkaido capital Sapporo, Tokachi Fairsky are a reformed version of Rude Boys and like so many small clubs across Japan are now aiming for a spot in the JFL and, later, in the J-League itself.

20 Apr 06 - Tokachi Fairsky, aiming for the top

Tokachi Fairsky - no longer rude, but aiming for the top

Given that the Hokkaido League has been singularly unsuccessful over the years in producing a team able to progress through the end-of-year play-offs by which teams achieve promotion from the Regional Leagues to the JFL, this is likely to be no mean feat, especially in the light of the fact that, somewhat cautiously, the Hokkaido FA's own project is to support one team from the Regional League in reaching the JFL before 2015. This hasn't stopped the Tokachi team management from signing up local boy and ex-Shimizu S-Pulse and Ventforet Kofu forward Hitoshi Matsushima, stating at the same time that they are seeking to obtain a JFL spot within five years.
Shikoku League - Round 2
The Shikoku League is rapidly shaping up to be one of the most interesting of all the Regional level competitions and, just two rounds in, reigning champions Nangoku Kochi's grip on the title is already looking a little shaky. A week ago, they scraped home against newcomers Tokushima Vortis Amateurs and on Sunday - derby day across Shikoku - they were on the verge of a shock home defeat at the hands of local rivals Sanwa Club until a late goal salvaged a 1-1 draw. At the same time, Ehime Shimanami were coasting home 6-0 against Ventana AC to go top of the table on maximum points. There they're joined by Kagawa prefecture's new hopefuls Kamatamare Sanuki, 4-1 winners over Alex SC in front of a first-ever home crowd estimated at between 300 and 400; and by 2005's shock runners up, Sanyo Electric Tokushima, who asserted themselves as local top dogs with a 4-1 win of their own, over Tokushima Vortis Amateur.

16 Apr 06 - Kamatamare's Chinese midfielder Xu gets in a header against Alex

Kamatamare's Chinese midfielder Xu rises above the Alex SC defence

Sun 16 Apr: Ehime Shimanami 6-0 Ventana AC
Sun 16 Apr: Kamatamare Sanuki 4-1 Alex SC
Sun 16 Apr: Nangoku Kochi 1-1 Sanwa Club
Sun 16 Apr: Tokushima Vortis Amateur 1-4 Sanyo Electric Tokushima

1 Ehime Shimanami 6 (+8)
2 Kamatamare Sanuki 6 (+4)
3 Sanyo Electric Tokushima 6 (+4)
4 Nangoku Kochi 4 (+1)
5 Sanwa Club 1 (-1)
6 Tokushima Vortis Amateur 0 (-4)
7 Alex SC 0 (-5)
8 Ventana AC 0 (-7)
Kyushu League - Round 3 (Sunday)
After Volca Kagoshima's win on Saturday, Nippon Steel Oita joined them at the top of the table on Sunday with a 2-0 win over minnows Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki - but most ominously for the early season pacesetters, V Varen Nagasaki crushed Osumi NIFS United 6-0 in a match attended by 7164 local fans and are three points behind with a game in hand. New Wave Kitakyushu remain in touch, as they beat the Okinawans of Kaiho Bank SC 4-0.
20 Apr 06 - V Varen striker Yoshihiro Saisho rises above the Osumi NIFS defence to score his hat-trick

V Varen's Yoshihiro Saisho beats the Osumi NIFS defence to score his hat-trick

Sun 16 Apr: New Wave Kitakyushu 4-0 Kaiho Bank SC
Sun 16 Apr: Nippon Steel Oita 2-0 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki
Sun 16 Apr: V Varen Nagasaki 6-0 Osumi NIFS United

1 Volca Kagoshima 9 (+8)
2 Nippon Steel Oita 9 (+7)
3 V Varen Nagasaki 6 (+9)
4 New Wave Kitakyushu 6 (+3)
5 Okinawa Kariyushi 6 (-)
6 Kaiho Bank SC 0 (-6)
7 Nanakuma Tombies 0 (-6)
8 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki 0 (-6)
9 Osumi NIFS United 0 (-9)

16 Apr 06 - Tomoki Ikemoto gets in a shot for New Wave Kitakyushu

Tomoki Ikemoto gets in a shot for New Wave Kitakyushu
Kanto League Round 1 - Sunday Scores
The first round of the Kanto League season in both Divisions 1 and 2 was completed in stunning style on Sunday, with reigning Division 1 champions Luminozo Sayama crashing 3-2 at home to newly-promoted Toshiba Fuchu. Hanno Bruder, who like Fuchu were also playing Division 2 football last year, conceded a late goal at Saitama SC to draw 2-2 on their top flight debut.

16 Apr 06 - Shinya Kobayashi, scorer of two goals for Luminozo Sayama

Shinya Kobayashi, scorer of two goals for Luminozo Sayama

Early indications are that Division 2 for 2006 will be dominated by the 2005 Tokyo Prefectural League winners, FC Machida Zelvia. The fixture list had given them one of the toughest possible matches for their first game at Regional level - away at Hitachi Tochigi Uva - but they were 4-0 up at half time and added one more after the interval just to make sure. Nirasaki Astros overcame one of last season's weaker sides, Furukawa Electrics Chiba, while new boys All Kamisu SC managed a draw at Aries FC.

16 Apr 06 - Why so bashful? All Kamisu FC line up before their Kanto League debut

"Number 22, what the hell are you doing?" All Kamisu FC on parade before their Kanto League debut

Division 1

Luminozo Sayama 2-3 Toshiba Fuchu
Saitama SC 2-2 Hanno Bruder


Division 2

Aries FC 1-1 All Kamisu SC
Hitachi Tochigi Uva 0-5 FC Machida Zelvia
Nirasaki Astros 2-0 Furukawa Electrics Chiba

16 Apr 06 - Worst picture of the week? Hitachi Tochigi against Machida Zelvia, anyway

Worst picture of the week? Hitachi Tochigi against Machida Zelvia, anyway
Hokushinetsu League Round 2 Results
The Hokushinetsu League Division 1 title race - in recent seasons one of the tightest of all the Regional Leagues - has hotted up from the word Go following the completion of the round 2 fixtures on Sunday. Three clubs maintain a 100% record, with ambitious Zweigen Kanazawa top thanks to a stunning goal difference of +14 - for indeed, they followed up last weekend's 7-0 thrashing of Ueda Gentian with an identical scoreline against the luckless Teihens SC. Taro Sugahara, formerly with Kashiwa Reysol, Vissel Kobe, Sagan Tosu and most recently Ehime FC, notched up a further two goals to add to his brace last weekend to go top of the scorers' chart. Hot on Zweigen's heels are Japan Soccer College - 2-0 winners at Ueda - and, fascinatingly, promoted outfit Matsumoto Yamaga Club, who coasted to a 3-0 win over Fervorosa. Next week sees scheduled an early crunch match, in which Zweigen take on Matsumoto.

16 Apr 06 - Action from Matsumoto Yamaga (green) against Fervorosa

Action from Matsumoto Yamaga (green) against Fervorosa

In Division 2, last season's Fukui Prefectural League champions Maruoka Phoenix move to the top of the table following their 2-1 win over FC Antelope and as such are the only team to have won both their fixtures. FC Kanazu picked up a good win against surprise strugglers Toyama Shinjo Club to go second, level on points with Shinjo's local rivals Valiente Toyama, who themselves beat Nissei Resin 2-1. In the other match, LionPower Komatsu shared a goalless draw with TOP Niigata.

Division 1

Matsumoto Yamaga Club 3-0 Fervorosa
Niigata University of Management 0-4 Nagano Elsa
Teihens SC 0-7 Zweigen Kanazawa
Ueda Gentian 0-2 Japan Soccer College

1 Zweigen Kanazawa 6 (+14)
2 Japan Soccer College 6 (+11)
3 Matsumoto Yamaga Club 6 (+5)
4 Nagano Elsa 3 (+2)
5 Fervorosa 1 (-3)
6 Teihens SC 1 (-7)
7 Ueda Gentian 0 (-9)
8 Niigata U of Management 0 (-13)

16 Apr 06 - Zweigen Kanazawa's goal machine, Taro Sugahara

Zweigen Kanazawa's goal machine, Taro Sugahara

Division 2

FC Kanazu 3-0 Toyama Shinjo Club
LionPower Komatsu 0-0 TOP Niigata
Maruoka Phoenix 2-1 FC Antelope
Nissei Resin 1-2 Valiente Toyama

1 Maruoka Phoenix 6 (+4)
2 FC Kanazu 4 (+3)
3 Valiente Toyama 4 (+1)
4 TOP Niigata 4 (+1)
5 FC Antelope 3 (-)
6 LionPower Komatsu 1 (-1)
7 Nissei Resin 0 (-2)
8 Toyama Shinjo Club 0 (-6)
JFL Round 5 - Sunday Scores
It's not that often that you win and move down a place, but that's what's happened to erstwhile leaders Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo after Sunday's JFL fixtures. New top dogs are YKK AP, thanks to a 7-1 drubbing of Honda Lock which has already taken the lethal Hiroki Kishida / Mitsuru Hasegawa partnership onto a total of nine goals for the season so far.

16 Apr 06 - Tochigi on the attack in their win over RKU

Tochigi on the attack in their win over RKU

Another of the league's sharpshooters, Kodai Suzuki of Honda FC, was again on target but his team were unable to shake off the persistence of SC Tottori and so surprisingly dropped points in a 3-3 draw. Sharing fourth spot with Honda are Tochigi SC after their 3-1 win over Ryutsu Keizai University.

Sony Sendai managed their first win of the season as they beat Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 2-1, but the rest of the attention was focused on the bottom of the division, where the shock is that the only side still left without a point after five rounds are would-be promotion hopefuls FC Ryukyu. Jorge Yonashiro's men went down 3-1 at their deadly rivals, the improving Rosso Kumamoto, while previous wooden spoonists Mitsubishi Mizushima managed a useful 2-1 win away at JEF Club.

16 Apr 06 - Shin Asahina heads home for Rosso Kumamoto

Shin Asahina heads home for Rosso Kumamoto

Honda FC 3-3 SC Tottori
JEF Club 1-2 Mitsubishi Mizushima
Rosso Kumamoto 3-1 FC Ryukyu
Sony Sendai 2-1 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka
Tochigi SC 3-1 Ryutsu Keizai University
YKK AP 7-1 Honda Lock

1 YKK AP 15 (+16)
2 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 15 (+16)
3 Alo's Hokuriku 15 (+14)
4 Honda FC 13 (+7)
5 Tochigi SC 13 (+6)
6 Rosso Kumamoto 10 (+2)
7 Yokogawa Musashino 9 (+6)
8 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 7 (+2)
9 Arte Takasaki 7 (-2)
10 Sony Sendai 6 (-2)
11 SC Tottori 3 (-5)
12 JEF Club 3 (-5)
13 Ryutsu Keizai University 3 (-6)
14 Mitsubishi Mizushima 3 (-10)
15 Sagawa Printing 2 (-5)
16 FC Kariya 1 (-12)
17 Honda Lock 1 (-15)
18 FC Ryukyu 0 (-7)
Kanto League Round 1
There were a total of three games played on Saturday in the opening round of the Kanto League season in Divisions 1 and 2. Division 2 hopefuls Ome FC snatched a last minute draw at Kanagawa Teachers thanks to new 19-year-old forward Yosuke Okayama. The Division 1 fixtures meanwhile saw Yaita SC pick up a 1-0 win at the military men of MSDF Atsugi Marcus and Toho Titanium sharing the points with Yokohama Sports & Culture Club.

Division 1

MSDF Atsugi Marcus 0-1 Yaita SC
Toho Titanium 1-1 YSCC


Division 2

Kanagawa Teachers 1-1 Ome FC

15 Apr 06 - Yosuke Okayama of Ome FC

Yosuke Okayama of Ome FC
Kansai League Round 1
Divisions 1 and 2 of the Kansai League commenced their 2006 schedules with a full programme of matches on Saturday, with Division 1 champions Banditonce Kobe getting off to a winning start as they seek to gain a place in the JFL at the end of the year. They saw off promoted Kyoto Shiko Club 2-0, while Sanyo Electric Sumoto beat AS Laranja Kyoto 3-2 in the battle of two likely mid-table sides. Elsewhere in Division 1, however, there were shocks aplenty as Ain Food went down 3-1 at home to Takada FC and last year's second place side, Kobe FC 1970, crashed 3-0 at home to new club FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu.

15 Apr 06 - Pint-sized Kyoto Shiko Club before their match with Banditonce Kobe

Pint-sized Kyoto Shiko Club before their match with Banditonce Kobe

In the Division 2 highlight, league newcomers Riseisha FC lost to Hermano Osaka on their debuts by the odd goal in nine. Last season's strugglers Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe picked up a useful 1-0 win at the students of Kohga School and Technonet Osaka beat Kihoku Football Group 2-0; but FC Kyoto BAMB 1993's two first-half goals were enough for them to record a win over Kobe FC Senior C.


Division 1

Ain Food 1-3 Takada FC
Banditonce Kobe 2-0 Kyoto Shiko Club
Kobe FC 1970 0-3 FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu
Sanyo Electric Sumoto 3-2 AS Laranja Kyoto


Division 2

FC Kyoto BAMB 1993 2-0 Kobe FC Senior C
Hermano Osaka 5-4 Riseisha FC
Kohga School 0-1 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe
Technonet Osaka 2-0 Kihoku Football Group
Kyushu League - Round 3 (Saturday)
Two goals from Shinichi Nishi helped Volca Kagoshima continue their good start to the season in the only Kyu League fixture to be played on Saturday. Volca overcame the previously unbeaten Okinawa Kariyushi 5-1 to maintain their own 100% record, three games in.

15 Apr 06 - Yuma Shiramoto, distinctly perky after Volca Kagoshima's win

Yuma Shiramoto, distinctly perky after Volca Kagoshima's win

Sat 15 Apr: Volca Kagoshima 5-1 Okinawa Kariyushi
JFL - Round 5 Saturday Scores
Three JFL round 5 games on Saturday to report... joint leaders Alo's Hokuriku held on to their 100% record with a 2-0 win at home to FC Kariya, possessors of one of the leakiest defences in the league... Yokogawa Musashino crushed Arte Takasaki 5-1 away from home, with two goals from top scorer Yosuke Kobayashi... and talking of top scorers, Tetsuya Okubo of Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo now has eight to his name for the season, as his last-minute strike was all that was required to beat Sagawa Printing and maintain his team's position as pacesetters at the top of the table.

Alo's Hokuriku 2-0 FC Kariya
Arte Takasaki 1-5 Yokogawa Musashino
Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 1-0 Sagawa Printing

15 Apr 06 - Koji Fujikawa, Alo's Man of the Match v FC Kariya

Koji Fujikawa, Alo's Man of the Match v FC Kariya

15 Apr 06 - The less-than-positive truth for Arte Takasaki

The less-than-positive truth for Arte Takasaki
Kansai League Preview 2006
AIN FOOD

Although now a corporate team based in Izumi City, Osaka, Ain Food have their roots in the football club of the Osaka College of Physical Education, who first achieved Kansai League status in 1987. Over the next few seasons, connections between the two organisations developed as Ain company management became more interested in strengthening their side – although there was something of a major hiccup to these plans when they were relegated back to the Osaka Prefectural League in 1994. Since 2002, though, Ain Food have become major players at Regional level, that same year just missing out on promotion to the JFL itself when they lost a play-off to Jatco. It’s hard to see past Banditonce Kobe as 2006 Kansai League winners, but Ain Food shouldn’t be all that far behind.


BANDITONCE KOBE

Despite now being one of the latest in a long line of memorably-titled Japanese clubs, in fact boring old Central Kobe is the original name of the team known only since the beginning of 2005 as Banditonce Kobe. Coached by former Gamba Osaka and Sagan Tosu player Koji Hashimoto, ambitious Banditonce won their final four matches of their inaugural season to pip Kobe FC 1970 for the Kansai League title, something Central Kobe had never managed to achieve in nearly twenty years of Regional football. Seeing off the challenge of both Shizuoka FC and Nangoku Kochi in the preliminary round of the promotion play-offs, it seemed as if the club’s dream of a JFL place was within their grasp – but the final group stage, alongside FC Ryukyu, Rosso Kumamoto and JEF Club, proved too much. Banditonce remain in the Kansai League for 2006, but will be one of the favourites to reach the JFL come the end of the year.

13 Apr 06 - Yuji Hashimoto, coach to Kansai League champions Banditonce Kobe

Yuji Hashimoto, coach to Kansai League champions Banditonce Kobe


KOBE FC 1970

One of the favourites for the 2005 Kansai League title, Kobe FC 1970 let slip from their grasp what would have been their first championship at Regional level on the last day of the season, a 1-1 draw at home to Takada FC allowing cross town rivals Banditonce Kobe to slip in and steal the silverware. The club have been solid but unspectacular performers since achieving promotion from the Hyogo Prefectural League at the end of 1997, but had appeared to be getting more competitive. Nevertheless, it seems as if - in the short term at least - Banditonce’s determination to reach the JFL will squeeze out well-organised community outfits like Kobe FC and 2006 may well see a reversion to their more habitual territory just above halfway.


KYOTO SHIKO CLUB

Having been established as long ago as 1922, Kyoto Shiko Club were founder members of the Kansai League in 1966 and quickly went on to become one of the top teams in the region, winning the title in both 1969 and 1971. They subsequently moved into the JSL and, despite a patchy career in what was then Japan’s top league, in 1993 gave rise to the J-League-bound Kyoto Purple Sanga. Since that time, Shiko have been on something of a downward spiral and sadly have become more or less also-rans in the Kansai League. 2005 even saw them down in Division 2 and although they gained promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt, they are likely strugglers this season.


AS LARANJA KYOTO

Despite fielding junior teams in the early 90s, AS Laranja Kyoto began competing at senior level only in 2000, when they entered – and won – the Kyoto Prefectural League. Gaining promotion to the Kansai League two years later, the club amazed fans locally as they ran away with the 2004 championship by a nine-point margin and so gained a place in the play-offs to reach the JFL itself. Not surprisingly, there they were beaten by the more experienced Mitsubishi Mizushima and Shizuoka FC to be eliminated at the preliminary round stage and 2005 proved a much tougher season back at Regional level. A top-half finish will be a good result for Laranja in 2006.


13 Apr 06 - Not a catfish in sight, it's FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu

Not a catfish in sight, it's FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu

FC MI-O BIWAKO KUSATSU

FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu were originally formed for school kids under the even better name of FC Mi-o Catfish Kusatsu, but became newly-established in early 2006 in Shiga prefecture to the east of Kyoto – and as such, they're not to be confused with J2's Gunma-based Thespa Kusatsu. In re-forming as a senior outfit, FC Mi-o have incorporated the Sagawa Kyubin Kyoto club, Kansai League Division 2 champions for 2005 and on the receiving end of arguably the shock result of the year across all of the Regional Leagues, when late in the season they crashed 8-1 at home to next-to-bottom Kobe FC Senior C. Already aiming for a future J-League place, FC Mi-o now boast a twenty-strong squad coached by former Vissel Kobe man Kota Nakao, but will be aiming to consolidate for 2006.


SANYO ELECTRIC SUMOTO

Well-established as members of the Kansai League since 1985, Sanyo Electric Sumoto have nevertheless picked up the championship on only one occasion, in 1989, and during recent seasons have slipped towards the foot of the table. 2005 saw Sanyo pick up enough points against the league’s weakest teams to nudge themselves into the top half, but even so are some distance away from being challengers to the likes of Banditonce Kobe and Kobe FC 1970. Instead, they seem likely to be in competition with such teams as Takada FC and should have just enough to avoid being drawn into a relegation fight.


13 Apr 06 - Takatakatakada

Takatakatakada

TAKADA FC

One of the smaller teams in the top division of the Kansai League, Takada FC’s most successful season to date was a second place finish in 2003. Other than that, the club from Nara prefecture have found it hard to become competitive at Regional level and, having finished 2005 just above the relegation zone, it’s hard to be too optimistic about their chances for 2006. But Takada, whose history dates back to the mid-70s and who were already in the Nara Prefectural League Division 1 by 1978, nevertheless claim to be working towards a JFL place – a praiseworthy enough ambition, but surely little more than a pipedream for the time being.
Tohoku League Changes
Some changes to report to the line-up in the lower reaches of the Tohoku League for the forthcoming season. Aomori Prefectural League champions Hachinohe Kogyo High School OB, promoted to Dvision 2 (North) after making their way through the play-offs in November, have changed their name to the possibly even less user-friendly Vanraure Hachinohe. Meanwhile in Division 2 (South), Yamagata FC have withdrawn to leave only seven teams in the division for 2006.

13 Apr 06 - Vanraure Hachinohe - new name, new logo

Vanraure Hachinohe - new name, new logo
JFL Round 4 Photo Special
10 Apr 06 - Yokogawa Musashino defend against Rosso Kumamoto

Yokogawa Musashino defend against Rosso Kumamoto


10 Apr 06 - Sagawa Kyubin Osaka before their clash with Arte Takasaki

Sagawa Kyubin Osaka before their clash with Arte Takasaki


10 Apr 06 - FC Ryukyu go for goal against JEF Club

FC Ryukyu go for goal against JEF Club


10 Apr 06 - Advertising the doubtful charms of Honda Lock

Advertising the doubtful charms of Honda Lock
Shikoku League - Round 1
The Shikoku League also commenced its season on Sunday, with four tight matches suggesting that 2006 will be a close-run campaign. However, the division between the top and bottom halves of the table that is such a marked feature of this particular Regional League is already in evidence. Title holders five years running Nangoku Kochi beat new team Tokushima Vortis Amateur 1-0, the same scoreline that saw 2005 runners up Sanyo Electric Tokushima beat Sanwa Club and ambitious Kamatamare Sanuki win at Ventana AC. The best result of the day, though, was Ehime Shimanami's 4-2 win over Alex SC, which sees one of the stronger teams in recent years lead the early season ranking.

09 Apr 06 - Kazushi Yokoyama nets the winner for Nangoku Kochi

Kazushi Yokoyama nets the winner for Nangoku Kochi

Sun 09 Apr: Ehime Shimanami 4-2 Alex SC
Sun 09 Apr: Nangoku Kochi 1-0 Tokushima Vortis Amateur
Sun 09 Apr: Sanyo Electric Tokushima 1-0 Sanwa Club
Sun 09 Apr: Ventana AC 0-1 Kamatamare Sanuki

10 Apr 06 - Kamatamare Sanuki on the attack at Ventana AC

Kamatamare Sanuki on the attack at Ventana AC
Hokushinetsu Divisions 1 & 2 - Round 1 Scores
The Hokushinetsu League kicked off the new season on Sunday with certain teams hitting the ground running.In Division 1, newly-launched Zweigen Kanazawa put seven past Ueda Gentian, while last year's runners up Japan Soccer College went two better against Niigata University of Management.

The big match of the day, however, was the Nagano prefecture derby between 2005 champions Nagano Elsa and their ambitious newly-promoted rivals from the south, Matsumoto Yamaga Club. It was Yamaga who emerged triumphant with an impressive 2-0 win, to throw down the gauntlet to potential challengers; who can say how significant a result this may prove to be come the end of the year.

10 Apr 06 - Fervorosa take on the yellow-shirted Teihens

Fervorosa take on the yellow-shirted Teihens

In Division 2, the two sides promoted from the prefectural leagues had mixed results, LionPower Komatsu losing 1-0 at FC Antelope, while Maruoka Phoenix achieved a fine 3-0 win away to Toyama Shinjo Club. Shinjo's local rivals Valiente Toyama, meanwhile, will be very disappointed with a 1-1 draw at home to FC Kanazu.

10 Apr 06 - Pre-season signing chores for the stars of FC Antelope

Pre-season signing chores for the stars of FC Antelope


Division 1

Fervorosa 2-2 Teihens FC
Japan Soccer College 9-0 Niigata University of Management
Nagano Elsa 0-2 Matsumoto Yamaga Club
Zweigen Kanazawa 7-0 Ueda Gentian


Division 2

FC Antelope 1-0 LionPower Komatsu
TOP Niigata 1-0 Nissei Resin
Toyama Shinjo Club 0-3 Maruoka Phoenix
Valiente Toyama 1-1 FC Kanazu

09 Apr 06 - LionPower Komatsu gaze in astonishment at the Matsumoto Alwin Stadium

LionPower Komatsu gaze in astonishment at the Matsumoto Alwin Stadium
JFL Round 4 Sunday Scores
Just four rounds in to the new campaign, the 2006 JFL league table is already clarifying some important issues in terms of who the challengers and strugglers will be for what is a key season. Of the top teams, Honda FC kept up the early pressure on Saturday with a 2-1 win at Ryutsu Keizai University, but the other four clubs near them responded in convincing style as the round was completed on Sunday.

Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo hold on to the lead on goal difference following their 3-0 win at SC Tottori, which included goal number seven for the season for Tetsuya Okubo, who must surely be the hottest property in the Japanese non-league game at present. Hot on their heels come the pair from Toyama, YKK AP demolishing Mitsubishi Mizushima 4-0 - with all the goals coming in the first half - and their rivals Alo's Hokuriku going one better. A hat-trick from Naoki Ishibashi helped last year's strong finishers to a 5-0 thrashing of Honda Lock. Tochigi SC remain in touch after they beat FC Kariya 2-0, including a third goal of the season for Kentaro Yoshida.

Sagawa Kyubin Osaka overcame Arte Takasaki with a single Masayuki Okamura goal early in the second half to win the mid-table battle, whilst FC Ryukyu have yet to get off the mark following their 1-0 home defeat to fellow new boys JEF Club.

Honda Lock 0-5 Alo's Hokuriku
Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 1-0 Arte Takasaki
FC Kariya 0-2 Tochigi SC
Mitsubishi Mizushima 0-4 YKK AP
FC Ryukyu 0-1 JEF Club
SC Tottori 0-3 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo

1 Sagawa Kyubin Tokyo 12 (+15)
2 Alo's Hokuriku 12 (+12)
3 YKK AP 12 (+10)
4 Honda FC 12 (+7)
5 Tochigi SC 10 (+4)
6 Sagawa Kyubin Osaka 7 (+3)
7 Arte Takasaki 7 (+2)
8 Rosso Kumamoto 7 (-)
9 Yokogawa Musashino 6 (+2)
10 Sony Sendai 3 (-3)
11 RKU 3 (-4)
12 JEF Club 3 (-4)
13 Sagawa Printing 2 (-4)
14 SC Tottori 2 (-5)
15 Honda Lock 1 (-9)
16 FC Kariya 1 (-10)
17 FC Ryukyu 0 (-5)
18 Mitsubishi Mizushima 0 (-11)
JFL Saturday Scores Round 4
Three games to report on from Saturday afternoon. Honda FC continued their good start to the season and go top of the league, as Kodai Suzuki picked up his fourth and fifth goals of the new campaign in a 2-1 win at Ryutsu Keizai University. Rosso Kumamoto's former JEF United striker equalised for his new side, as they drew 1-1 at Yokogawa Musashino; while Sagawa Printing and Sony Sendai shared a goalless draw.

Yokogawa Musashino 1-1 Rosso Kumamoto
Sagawa Printing 0-0 Sony Sendai
Ryutsu Keizai University 1-2 Honda FC
Shikoku League Preview 2006
ALEX SC

Alex SC's almost-big achievement occurred in an Emperor's Cup tie against SC Tottori in 2002, when they were a goal up at half time only to lose 2-1 AET; it hasn't been a glamorous life for the small Tokushima-based outfit. Since winning a place back in the Shikoku League that same year, they have found it tough to break out of mid-table, when faced with the simple but insurmountable obstacle of bigger clubs able to attract better players. Locally, Tokushima Vortis Amateur and an improved Sanyo Electric Tokushima will only add to their problems and after finishing sixth last season, 2006 could be tough for Alex.

07 Apr 06 - Tokushima City Sports Ground. host to Alex and Sanyo Electric Tokushima

Tokushima City Sports Ground, host to Alex and Sanyo Electric Tokushima


EHIME SHIMANAMI

It was Ehime Shimanami who found themselves pushed back into third place in the Shikoku League last year by Sanyo Electric Tokushima's shock challenge of big guns Nangoku Kochi. For since winning the Ehime Prefectural League in 2000 - at which stage they were known as Imao FC - and gaining promotion, Shimanami have emerged as one of the stronger non-league teams on the island. With the potential emergence of Kamatamare Sanuki, competition is likely to be hot this season and the inconsistency that saw them lose home-and-away to Ventana AC in 2005 will be a concern, but the club should nevertheless be able to remain a top three outfit.


KAMATAMARE SANUKI

Originally formed as the team of Takamatsu Commercial HS Old Boys, the club now known as Kamatamare Sanuki have a chequered history. Their current name - which incorporates references both to Kagawa prefecture's beautiful coastline and to the local speciality udon noodles - was adopted during the close season and is their fifth in fewer than thirty years of existence. It's part of a campaign that is picking up significant local support, however, firstly to challenge Nangoku Kochi as the top Shikoku non-league side and eventually to achieve a J-League place alongside Ehime FC and Tokushima Vortis. Kamatamare have signed a couple of fringe players from Consadole Sapporo and may run Nangoku close this year.


NANGOKU KOCHI

Regional champions for the last five years, Nangoku Kochi are nevertheless a club who have undergone a turbulent close season. Following another failure to reach the JFL via the play-offs at the end of 2005, officials indicated that they would aim to boost the squad for the coming campaign with cast-offs from Tokushima Vortis and Ehime FC, at the same time reasserting their desire to reach the JFL. This was met with derision by star attacking midfielder Taku Terao, who posted an astonishing message on Nangoku's own bulletin board to the effect that the club was going nowhere and that he was quitting for a team with better organisation and more ambition. Evidently waters have been calmed - Terao lines up as part of the 2006 squad - but the feeling remains that all is far from well at Nangoku Kochi.

07 Apr 06 - Nangoku Kochi's Haruno Sports Ground

Nangoku Kochi's Haruno Sports Park


SANWA CLUB

With a base in the city of Nangoku in Kochi prefecture, in contrast to their neighbours, Sanwa Club have been a bottom-half-of-the-table side since first competing in the Shikoku League in 2001. 2005 proved to be a particularly hard season as they conceded seventeen goals in the last four matches to slump into the bottom two and the relegation play-offs. There matched with Ehime Prefectural League runners-up Hisaeda FC and with only three league games having been won all year, Sanwa fans could have been forgiven for thinking that they were heading out of Regional League football in the wrong direction - but an amazing 6-5 home win in the first leg was followed by a 2-2 draw in Ehime, and Sanwa Club live to fight another season.


SANYO ELECTRIC TOKUSHIMA

Sanyo Electric Tokushima are the only corporate team now left in the Shikoku League, of which they have been members since 1998. Most of the time they have rather struggled to compete, but over the last three seasons there has been a marked improvement in Sanyo's results, the high point to date being early in 2005 when a sensational 1-0 win over Nangoku Kochi actually took them to the top of the league. They couldn't - quite - hold on, a 2-0 defeat in the return fixture effectively condemning them to a second place finish, but the players rallied from that disappointment to finish the year on a high, running in nine against Ventana AC. A repeat performance is probably too much to ask, but Sanyo will hope for a top-half final placing.


TOKUSHIMA VORTIS AMATEUR

Known until early 2006 as Tokushima Vortis Caballos, the club have since formalised their status within the ranks of local J2 side Tokushima Vortis and as such are drawing inspiration from JFL side JEF Club, themselves previously known as JEF United Amateurs. Indeed, there has been somewhat optimistic talk locally of making a similar play for a JFL place - but just a year ago, Caballos were lining up in the Tokushima Prefectural League and only squeezed through the promotion play-offs at the expense of the Shikoku League's worst team of 2005, Showa Club. A more realistic target for 2006 will see the Amateurs tussle with the likes of Alex, Sanwa and Ventana to avoid relegation.

07 Apr 06 - Ventana AC, scourge of the... no, not really

Ventana AC, scourge of the... no, not really

VENTANA AC

In the mid- to late-80s, Ehime's Ventana AC were one of the top sides on Shikoku, competing under the auspices of NTT Shikoku and winning the league on a couple of occasions. As the 90s went on, however, the team became less and less successful and in 2002 - having undergone one relegation and narrowly avoided another - the parent company's support was withdrawn. Ventana AC was subsequently formed by NTT employees as an independent club and since that time they have held on to their place in the Regional League, but not much more. 2005 started reasonably brightly, but ended with cataclysmic 8-1 and 9-1 defeats over consecutive weekends and there's no indication that this season Ventana can break into the top half of the league.
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