Japanese Non-league Football News

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.
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