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S-Pulse fire manager Ghotbi

Kyodo

Shimizu S-Pulse have fired Afshin Ghotbi as manager of the first-division J. League club due to his team’s lackluster first half to the season, a source familiar with the situation said late on Tuesday.

Ghotbi, 50, will be replaced by former S-Pulse player Katsumi Oenoki, 49. Shimizu is currently languishing in 12th place of the 18 J. League clubs with a 6-8 record and three draws.

Oenoki, who works for the club’s youth development team, played in 252 career matches for Shimizu. Since his retirement, the Shizuoka native has taken up coaching and has managed the team at Waseda University, his alma mater.

Ghotbi, who formerly managed the Iranian national team and is an American citizen, took the helm at Shimizu at the end of 2011, finishing that season in 10th place. Despite his active deployment of younger players, the club has failed to make any progress. S-Pulse finished ninth in both 2012 and 2013.