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Omiya Ardija president hopes Sasaki rejoins team’s coaching staff

Kyodo

Omiya Ardija want departing Japan women’s team coach Norio Sasaki to rejoin the club’s coaching staff, the J. League first-division side’s president said Friday.

“He (Sasaki) is someone who has always been at Omiya, and has great achievements,” club president Shigeru Suzuki said. “We’ll check whether there are any offers coming his way, and we’d like to hear what his plans are.”

The 57-year-old’s only club during his playing career was the forerunner of Omiya, then called NTT Kanto. He hung up his boots in 1999 when he was 33, but stayed at the club in various roles before joining Nadeshiko’s coaching staff in 2006.

Sasaki became the head coach of Nadeshiko Japan in December 2007 and led the team to the World Cup title in 2011. Two runners-up finishes followed in the 2012 London Olympics and 2015 World Cup, but the team failed to qualify for this summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics after finishing third in the final qualifying round this month.