Vissel hire former Gamba manager Nishino


Vissel Kobe announced Saturday they have appointed former Gamba Osaka boss Akira Nishino as new manager of the J. League first-division club.

Nishino, 57, who had been top of Kobe’s wishlist, will take over the reigns from caretaker Ryo Adachi from Tuesday to prepare for his first game in charge against Kashima Antlers on May 26.

“This is a club that faces challenges ahead, and I felt this matches my strong conviction,” said Nishino. “I don’t possess a magic bullet to turn the club around and of course I know it will be difficult, but I want to change them into an attractive team,” he said.

Nishino took over as manager of Gamba in 2002 and turned them into a major force in his decade in charge, winning five titles including the 2005 J. League crown and the Asian Champions League in 2008. He left Gamba at the end of last season.

Kobe will be the third team Nishino has managed after Kashiwa Reysol and Gamba. He was also coach of Japan’s Olympic team at the 1996 Atlanta Games, where it pulled off a stunning upset of Brazil in a match dubbed by Japanese press as the “Miracle of Miami.”

Vissel have never won a title. They finished last season in ninth place — their best ever result in the top flight.

Adachi had been in temporary charge of the team after Masahiro Wada was sacked on April 30. Kobe started the season well with back-to-back wins but lost its next four.

The team currently has a record of five league wins against seven defeats, but has lost all three of its Nabisco Cup group stage games.