Japanese Non-league Football News

Arte Announce Mass Exit
Gunma prefecture-based JFL side Arte Takasaki have announced that no fewer than fourteen members of their first team squad will leave the club when their contracts expire at the end of July. As yet there is no news of any transfer deals being in place, or of any new arrivals to take the place of departing key players such as top scorer Yoichi Mori and Brazilian forward Beto. But 2006 generally has turned into something of a disaster for Arte, re-launched with a new coach and a new name at the beginning of the year, with their hopes set on working towards a J-League place and putting behind them a period of underachievement as a competitive side in the JFL.

Coach Kim Guan Ho was nevertheless sacked by the end of April after a disappointing start and goalkeeping coach Kazuyoshi Hamaguchi subsequently took up the reins - to little effect, given that the team were ninth in the table when Kim left and are currently eleventh. Their most recent match ended in a disastrous 3-0 defeat at Ryutsu Keizai University and although there has been until now no question of Arte slipping down into the bottom quarter of the table - they're six points ahead of twelfth placed JEF Club - fans will surely be distinctly nervous about the remainder of the season given the drastic weakening of the playing staff that is about to take place.

JFL - Round 19 (Friday)
This weekend being a holiday weekend in Japan, the JFL round 19 fixtures are spread from Friday right through to Monday. Friday saw just one match, but it was an important relegation clash between Okinawa's FC Ryukyu and Mitsubishi Mizushima from Okayama. While Mitsubishi had been expected to find the going tough this season after finishing bottom in 2005 with just eight points from thirty matches, it was thought that Ryukyu had the experience, the playing squad, the financial backing and the local support to make a success of their first season in the JFL following promotion from the the Kyushu League. Both, however, have spent 2006 in the bottom six or lower, goalscoring being the major difficulty: Ryukyu have managed fourteen (six from Fukutaro Kuroda, formerly of Sun Miyazaki), while Mitsubishi are the lowest scorers in the league with only twelve. A 0-0 draw between the two in Friday's match therefore comes as little surprise, the resulting point edging Ryukyu away from the relegation play-offs at the same time as enabling Mitsubishi to pull level with Ryutsu Keizai University.

14 Jul 06 - JFL strugglers FC Ryukyu before their relegation battle with Mitsubishi Mizushima

JFL strugglers FC Ryukyu before their relegation battle with Mitsubishi Mizushima

Fri 14 Jul: FC Ryukyu 0-0 Mitsubishi Mizushima

12 JEF Club 16 (-9)
13 Sagawa Printing 16 (-17)
14 FC Kariya 15 (-17)
15 FC Ryukyu 12 (-13)
16 Ryutsu Keizai University 11 (-20)
17 Mitsubishi Mizushima 11 (-32)
18 Honda Lock 9 (-33)
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