• Kyodo

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Eight-time J. League champion Kashima Antlers announced Wednesday the club will part ways with manager Antonio Carlos Zago and appoint former player and current coach Naoki Soma as the new boss.

The 51-year-old Zago took over the reins of the Ibaraki Prefecture-based Antlers in January 2020, but in his second year at the helm Kashima has struggled near the bottom of the J1 table with two wins, two draws and four losses.

Under the Brazilian manager last year, Kashima started the season 0-4 but was able to recover to finish fifth. This year, they have stumbled again in their bid to win a first J. League title in five seasons.

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