• Kyodo


Takashi Sekizuka, the man who masterminded Japan’s sensational run to the semifinals of last year’s London Olympics, has emerged as a leading contender to take over as manager of struggling Jubilo Iwata, sources said late Saturday.

Hitoshi Morishita stepped down as manager last weekend after a disastrous start to the season for the three-time J. League champions and assistant coach Tetsu Nagasawa was installed as caretaker while they look for a permanent replacement.

But Jubilo, whose failure to win in their first seven games marked their worst ever start to a J. League campaign, squandered a two-goal lead and were held 2-2 by FC Tokyo in Nagasawa’s first game in charge on Monday.

A 1-0 reverse at home to Kashiwa Reysol followed Saturday and dropped the Yamaha-backed club to second from bottom of the table with just one win from 11 games.

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