Numerous dailies are reporting that burly Brazilian coach Joel Santana will not be returning after failing to get Vegalta back to J1. Early in the year, Sendai was one of the most exciting, fast paced squads in all of Japan with a brilliant attack led by Borges, Lopez, and Thiago Neves, but an emotional 2-0 loss at Verdy was the beginning of a downward spiral for the club which saw them eventually drop behind Vissel Kobe and Sagan Tosu. The demanding and emotional fans of Vegalta Sendai are known for putting immense pressure on the front office to change course once success has been missed (just ask Satoshi Tsunami) and this could be another case of that happening. Tatsuya Mochizuki, santana's right hand man for 2006, has been handed the reigns for 2007.
The club also announced that 4 of their out of contract players will not be returning for next year. the most notable name on the list is former Verdy keeper Daijiro Takakuwa. The former best 11 and National Team fringe player was the starter in Sendai for the better part of three seasons before losing his job to dreadlocked former Verdy keeper Kiyomitsu Kobari. you might remember that Kobari had the most embarrassing moment for Vegalta this year when he blew up after Takakuwa had stopped a PK and a do-over but was overturned. Kobari, then the backup keeper went ballistic and picked up a red card. Excuse my French, but what a tool.
That was until the Verdy-Vegalta rematch when Takagi scored the goal from his own box on a freak hop which caught Takakuwa flat-footed. Takakuwa might be the perfect guy to push Takagi next year.
One interesting player that was dropped by Sendai was relatively young D-midfielder Kazuhiro Murakami. The 25 year old has been with the club for 6 years, becoming a regular in the last 3 before falling out of favor late in the season. He appeared in 26 games, notching 1 score.
So if you're keeping track at home.....Sagan-new coach, Consadole-new coach, Vegalta-new coach, Verdy-new pictorial on the same old coach