Japanese Non-league Football News

JFL News In Brief
Yokogawa Musashino continued their preparations for life after the transfer of star striker Yosuke Kobayashi to Rosso Kumamoto, when they beat high school side Seiritsu Gakuen 4-2 in a friendly on Sunday. The Yokogawa goals coming from Takumi Okawa, ex-Ehime FC forward Takuro Uji (two) and Kenji Nogi... Yosuke Nishi, a midfield player, has moved from Tohoku League side Grulla Morioka to Sony Sendai...

04 Feb 07 - Yokogawa Musashino in blue take on the kids

Yokogawa Musashino in blue take on the kids

Shikoku League Promotion / Relegation Play-offs
四国サッカーリーグ 入替戦

One of the two Shikoku League Promotion / Relegation Play-off ties was completed on Sunday, with Kochi prefecture's Sanwa Club holding on to their Regional League status despite a 5-2 defeat at the hands of Hisaeda FC from Ehime. Sanwa's 5-0 first leg victory means that they emerge with an aggregate 7-5 win.

The delayed play-off between Alex SC and Minami Club, however, is very much up for grabs after the first leg game on Sunday. Minami Club, from Kagawa prefecture, claimed a shock 2-1 win to give them a good chance of promotion for the first time in their history - while Alex are in danger of dropping back to the Tokushima Prefectural League, a competition in which they most recently participated in 2001. The second leg is scheduled to take place this coming Sunday.

Sun 04 Feb: Hisaeda FC 5-2 Sanwa Club (Sanwa Club won 7-5 on aggregate)
Sun 04 Feb: Minami Club 2-1 Alex SC
JFL News In Brief
JFL champions Honda FC beat Shizuoka Sangyo University 3-1 in a friendly on Saturday... Yokogawa Musashino also overcame Ryutsu Keizai University Kashiwa High School 5-1... two other JFL sides met with 3-0 defeats, however, in practice matches against J-League opposition. JEF Reserves lost to Shonan Bellmare, while Tokyo Verdy 1969 got the better of Arte Takasaki... 22-year-old keeper Shota Wada has signed for Hokuhsinetsu League hopefuls Fervorosa, having left FC Ryukyu... Hiroshi Fukushima, the 24-year-old Avispa Fukuoka forward who spent the last couple of seasons on loan at Rosso Kumamoto, has signed a permanent deal at Kyushu League champions V Varen Nagasaki...
Regional League News In Brief
Satoshi Tezuka, 48, has been named as the new coach at Chugoku League champions Fagiano Okayama. Tezuka, a former Japanese international, spent the bulk of his career as player and coach with Fujita / Shonan Bellmare, before moving on in 2003 to join the staff at Mito Hollyhock. Two years later he took over at then-newcomers Thespa Kusatsu... Fagiano have also announced their two signings. Kenta Tsurumaki is a 19-year-old midfielder who joins on loan from Tokyo Verdy 1969, as does striker Kohei Kiyama, 18... in Kyushu, Volca Kagoshima were crushed 9-1 by J1 side Nagoya Grampus 8 in a friendly on Saturday...
All Change In Chugoku
It's been announced that the next couple of years will see a major overhaul to the format of the Chugoku League competition. Since 2003, the league has mostly functioned as an eight-team division, with a straightforward home-and-away fixture list and a mechanism of promotion from the Prefectural Leagues involving Play-offs with the bottom two teams. A more unusual feature has been the use of penalty shoot-outs to decide drawn matches, something which elsewhere within the Regional League structure is retained only in Kyushu.

However, at the end of the regular 14-game 2007 season - due to commence on 15 April - the league table will be divided into a top four and bottom four, with the teams in each section playing against each other on one further occasion, i.e. a total of 17 matches. It is expected that following the performance of Fagiano Okayama in the Regional League Championship Winners' Play-off tournament last year, the top two teams will proceed to the equivalent competition in November.

At the other end of the Chugoku League, there is not scheduled to be any relegation this year because in 2008 it will be expanded to include ten clubs. This will be good news for teams such as Shimane prefecture's Iwami SC - relegated at the end of 2006 after five seasons at Regional level - and Okayama pair NTN Okayama and Nippon Oil Mizushima. The use of penalty shoot-outs to decide drawn games, a feature of Chugoku League football for a decade, is also to be abolished.
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