Japanese Non-league Football News

Regional League Transfer News
JFL hopefuls FC Gifu have signed 19-year-old striker Yu Hasegawa from Kashiwa Reysol... the Tokai League champions have also snapped up Tomoki Ikemoto, a forward from New Wave Kitakyushu, on loan until the end of the year, together with Gamba Osaka keeper Suguru Hino... V Varen Nagasaki have also taken steps to strenghten their squad in advance of the play-offs, with the loan signings of Tetsuro Kimura (ex-Sanfrecce Hiroshima) from Hokushinetsu League side Zweigen Kanazawa, and Shirao Hidehito from Matsumoto Yamaga FC... Toshihiro Yahata has left Matsumoto for a month at ambitious Prefectural league side Tonan SC Gunma.

Regional League Play-off Groups Announced
The groups for the first stage of the Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off tournament to be held at the end of November have been announced. This is the competition by which teams from the Regional Leagues achieve promotion to the JFL and is therefore a vital step as far as the development of ambitious clubs across Japan is concerned.

Group A (to be played in Nagasaki)
Norbritz Hokkaido
Banditonce Kobe
[Chugoku League winners]

Group B (to be played in Nagasaki)
V Varen Nagasaki
Japan Soccer College
Luminozo Sayama

Group C (to be played in Kochi)
FC Gifu
FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu
Shizuoka FC
[Shikoku league winners]

Group D (to be played in Saitama)
Nippon Steel Oita

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the Tokai League's deadly rivals, FC Gifu and Shizuoka FC, are paired together in Group C, in what is sure to be one of the most fiercely-contested battles in the competition. The fixtures have already been confirmed for this particular group, as follows:
Fri 24 Nov Shizuoka FC - FC Gifu
Sat 25 Nov Shizuoka FC - FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu
Sun 26 Nov FC Mi-o Biwako Kusatsu - FC Gifu

JNFN will aim to provide full coverage of what is one of the most important parts of the Japanese non-league football calendar, starting with a series of profiles of each of the contenders, which will be uploaded to the site in the coming weeks.
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