Japanese Non-league Football News

Tohoku League Team Profile - Furukawa Battery
Furukawa Battery were for many years the nearly men of Tohoku football. The club was originally formed in 1985 and participated initially at the less-than-dizzy heights of the Iwaki City League Division 3, although they quickly moved up through the Fukushima Prefectural League.

Ever since the League established its own regionalised second tiers in 1997, the Fukushima-based side have been close to making the step up to Division 1, winning the Division 2 (South) title twice and finishing runners-up on no fewer than five occasions. But they always just missed out on promotion, either pipped to the title by teams like Sendai Nakata Club and Northern Peaks Koriyama, or losing to the Division 2 (North) champions in the Promotion Play-off – as in 2001, when they went down 2-1 to Akita City Hall.

2006 again saw Furukawa challenge at the top of Division 2 (South) table, as the battle for the championship crown quickly became a two-horse race involving themselves and Marysol Matsushima. But the Elephants moved into the lead with a 4-2 defeat of their rivals, later confirming their superiority over the other teams by scoring seven home-and-away against Kanai Club and twice putting eight past the hapless Kureha.

The title was finally confirmed in mid-October with another 4-2 victory, this time against late challengers Northern Peaks. Even then, though, the hurdle of the Play-off with Division 2 (North) runaway winners FC Akita Cambiare had to be overcome – but this time, Furukawa finally triumphed and a place in Division 1 for 2007 was theirs.

Having reached the top level of Regional football, in contrast with other teams in Fukushima’s competitive environment, Furukawa seem content to consolidate and have no stated desire to seek a place in the JFL or higher in the Japanese footballing pyramid. Indeed, their ambition seems to be directed equally towards league status as it does towards achieving success in the various cup competitions, as the club have never yet participated in the final stages of either the Emperor’s Cup or the All-Japan Shakaijin. So far, in seeking to qualify they have been unable to cope with better-placed clubs from their home prefecture, such as FC Primeiro and Fukushima University – and this seems to be just as much a preoccupation as achieving success in the league.

2007: Having taken a decade to reach Division 1, Furukawa Battery’s first target will be stay up – so a mid-table finish will constitute a good season’s work for the Elephants.

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