Japanese Non-league Football News

Shock Ryukyu Appointment!
After a disastrous first year at JFL level, in which they won just six out of 34 matches, FC Ryukyu have stunned the world of Japanese non-league football with the announcement of their new coach. Following the departure at the end of the season of Jorge Yonashiro, the ambitious Okinawans have snapped up none other than outgoing Honda FC boss Hideo Yoshizawa.

Yoshizawa is only 34 but has spent the last two years in charge at Honda. Previously he fulfilled a role on the Hamamatsu-based side's coaching staff and prior to that was a member of the first team squad as a defender for fully ten years, having originally joined Honda in 1991. 2007 will therefore provide for Yoshizawa a very different challenge, having won the JFL at a canter with a club very well established at this level of football and in an environment with which he was naturally very familiar.

In contrast, Ryukyu struggled to assert themselves after promotion from the Kyushu League, despite an apparently reasonable squad and a consistently good level of support. With this single appointment, though, the club have taken a gamble, but at the same time confirmed their determination to progress towards the ultimate ambition of a J-League place.

Kariyushi Clear-out
Okinawa Kariyushi have announced the departure of fully half their 2006 first team in what amounts to a no-holds-barred clear-out at the end of what has in fact been a reasonably successful Kyushu League season. Nine players - including five regular starters - have left the club, who bounced back from an eighth place finish in 2005 to re-establish themselves as a competitive team at Regional level.

Football in the Okinawa archipelago finds itself in something of a state of flux at the moment, at the end of an unexpectedly turbulent season at neighbours FC Ryukyu. Kariyushi meanwhile seemed to be returning to an even keel after having collapsed as a result of their failure to reach the JFL several seasons ago, but fans will have to wait and see if such a drastic change as has just occurred reaps rewards next year.
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