Soccer / J. League

Levir Culpi to take over at Gamba Osaka; Kenta Hasegawa at FC Tokyo

Kyodo

Gamba Osaka on Sunday announced the appointment of former Cerezo Osaka boss Levir Culpi as the J. League first-division club’s manager next season.

The 64-year-old, who this season has been at the helm of Brazilian side Santos, will replace Kenta Hasegawa, whom FC Tokyo announced will manage its team.

Brazilian coach Culpi managed Cerezo Osaka in 1997, from 2007 to 2011 and the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He helped them to a third-place finish in 2010.

He played a major role in the development of Borussia Dortmund’s Japan international Shinji Kagawa during his time with Cerezo.

Cerezo’s head of development, Katsushi Kajii, said, “(Culpi) has a skill for creating attacking teams and has a strong reputation for developing (young players) through giving them game time.”

Gamba in September announced that they would not renew the 52-year-old Hasegawa’s contract for next season.

During his five-year tenure, Hasegawa lifted Gamba out of the second division in 2013 and helped the former Asian champions win the Japanese treble the following season and retain the Emperor’s Cup in 2015. Gamba finished 10th in J1 this season.

FC Tokyo made a number of key preseason signings such as striker Yoshito Okubo and Nigerian forward Peter Utaka, but the team finished the season 13th in the 18-team table.

Takayoshi Amma took over as Tokyo manager during the middle of the campaign, but his future with the club is undecided.