Soccer / J. League

Relegation-threatened Sagan name Kim Myung-hwi to replace Massimo Ficcadenti

Kyodo

J. League first-division side Sagan Tosu tabbed assistant coach Kim Myung-hwi to run the relegation-threatened team on the field from Tuesday, leaving existing Italian head coach Massimo Ficcadenti in limbo.

A day after reports surfaced that Ficcadenti had been fired, the club named Kim, a 37-year-old Japan-born South Korean who finished his playing career with Sagan, to take over. Ficcadenti’s status going forward is currently being decided.

The 50-year-old Ficcadenti has managed in the J. League since 2014, spending two years with FC Tokyo before moving to Sagan in 2016. After finishing 11th in 2015, the club improved to eighth last year. But this season, Sagan have not recovered from a seven-game losing streak in April and May.

Despite July acquisitions of former Spain international Fernando Torres and prolific striker Mu Kanazaki, Sagan are currently 17th in the 18-team first division. The team are now facing relegation for the first time since they began playing in the top flight in 2012.